NOAA 18


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Technical info on NOAA 18

NOAA-18 Launch. Image courtesy NOAA

The north American NOAA-18 satellite has a low orbit of the polar type, resulting in a period of about 102 minutes. The combination of altitude and the orbit's inclination results in a sun-synchronous orbit: this makes the satellite pass over the same places on earth at the same hour of the day.

NOAA-18 was launched on May 20th, 2005 at 02:22 UTC. It contains a large number of scientific experiments, of which only the meteorological part is of easy use. NOAA-18 was launched with the intention of having an 'afternoon'-satellite, with passes in between NOAA-17 and -12 and -15.

Though the satellite registers images in 5 spectral bands, from visible light to infrarred, the complete information is only available over the high speeds SHF downlink (HRPT on 1690 MHz). The simpler APT doenlink, designed for low-budget reception, is only capable of transmitting two of the 5 spectral bands, and at about 1/4 of the original resolution.

NOAA-18 is a member of the TIROS family of satellites.

First images

First complete image received here, one day after launch. This is a rare occasion, as the spacecraft normally sends other spectral bands, which do not permit the combination to represent vegetation.
Both images separately, contrast enhanced. If you don't detect the difference at first, check the lake at the right border of each image.


One line of APT audio::
One line of audio

Spec sheet for NOAA-18

Description Value Unit
Launch 2005/05/20
Name before launch NOAA-M
Actual name NOAA-18
NASA ID 28654
Approx altitude 872 km
Orbit inclination 98.78 degrees
Period of the orbit 102 min
APT frecuencies 137.9125
HRPT frecuencias 1698
Beacon 137.35