Higher, Faster, Further: 1970-1996

Hughes Space and Communications Co. ... In Orbit and Beyond

The first Hughes-built geostationary meteorological satellite (GMS) was launched in 1977. It was followed by five GMSs featuring the company's visible/infrared spin-scan radiometer, which provides high-resolution weather coverage over more than 65 million square miles of the Pacific region.

In 1975, attention turned to the sun with a Hughes spacecraft called the Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO). From its 345-mile-high orbit beyond the interference of Earth's atmosphere, OSO investigated X-ray and ultraviolet radiation emitted by the chromosphere and corona of the sun.

In 1978, NASA selected Hughes to build the second generation of geostationary operational environmental satellites (GOES), launched between 1980 and 1987. These five satellites introduced an advanced atmospheric sounder and were able to capture vertical profiles of temperature and humidity throughout the atmosphere. In January 1998, NASA ordered two new GOESs, with options for two more.

Hughes introduced the body-stabilized 601 satellite in 1987 to meet anticipated requirements for high-power, multiple payload satellites. The body-stabilized 702 satellite, announced in 1995 and first launched in 1999, can carry more than 100 high-powered transponders.

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