ATS Image Collection

The AOSS 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). 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.

Coming soon, the full collection of over 63,000 images will be searchable through the Space Science and Engineering Center’s Satellite Data Services.