The Schwerdtfeger Library, University of
Wisconsin-Madison, holds an extensive collection of hardcopy
images from the Applications Technology Satellite-I and -III
(ATS-I and ATS-III). This database was created, initially,
to provide web
access to the ATS-III color images, though it will later include
ATS-III black and white images. The ATS-III was the only
geostationary satellite with a blue channel which was, and still
is, a unique feature.
In the mid-1960s, Dr. Verner E. Suomi and his colleague, Robert J. Parent, invented the Spin-Scan Cloud Camera. This
instrument was the payload of the ATS-I and ATS-III
launched in 1966 and 1967, respectively.
Launch of the ATS-I into geosynchronous Earth orbit pioneered
continuous viewing of weather from space. The ability to obtain
continuous satellite imagery of a fixed point on the earth, at
20-minute intervals, allowed scientists to study a synoptic picture
of existing meteorological conditions for the first time.
Having this period in our weather history (1966-1972) accessible
increases the time base available for climate study and modeling.