The Nimbus Program
Launched in 1964, Nimbus satellites carried a variety of instruments. At its height, peak, the mission imaged more than 70% of Earth each day.
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Reel Time Data
The AVCS used 3 cameras, a tape recorder, and a vidicon tube to capture, store, and transmit pictures to ground receiving stations.
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Get the Picture?
NSIDC scanned more than 200,000 AVCS and IDCS images from archival film, rescuing old data from the ‘60s and ‘70s for new research.
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Piecing Together the Past
Mosaics like this allowed NSIDC researchers to estimate the average 7-day Antarctic sea ice extent in September 1964.
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Tape reel
Satellite photo


NSIDC archives and distributes Level-1 and Level-3 data from the Nimbus Data Rescue Project. These data sets consist of digitized black-and-white film images and infrared radiometer data obtained during the 1960s and 70s with the IDCS, AVCS, HRIR, and THIR sensors on board the Nimbus 1, Nimbus 2, Nimbus 3, Nimbus 4, Nimbus 5, Nimbus 6, and Nimbus 7 satellites.