Research satellite vs. Operational satellite

From: Jonathan T Wojack (
Date: Tue Aug 21 2001 - 13:30:05 PDT

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    I came across this paragragh today from a NASA news release:
    >Simultaneous measurement of cloud heights accurate to within 400 meters
    >1,300 feet) and cloud winds accurate to within 3 meters (about 10 feet)
    per second 
    >anywhere over the globe is a potential boon for meteorology, Davies
    said. While Terra is 
    >a research satellite, not an operational satellite, the success of the
    radiometer's fully 
    >automated multi-angle imaging technique "pioneers the possibility of
    deploying an 
    >operational satellite to gain wind information within the atmosphere,
    especially over the 
    >data-sparse areas of the oceans, for improved weather forecasts," he
    Do you catch that?  "...research satellite, not an operational
    satellite..."  Would I be correct in assuming that a research satellite
    is a passive satelllite, just automatically collecting data through its
    instruments, while an operational satellite is one that not only collects
    data, but has the "brains" to change its methods?
    That caught my eye, as at least on SeeSat-L, an operational satellite is
    considered to be a satellite that actually does something other than take
    up space (like take images, route internet traffic and telephone calls,
    provide GPS service, etc.).  I consider a non-operational satellite to be
    a pile of junk in space, putting live satellites at risk.
    Jonathan T. Wojack       
    39.706d N   75.683d W      
    4 hours behind UT (-4)
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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Aug 21 2001 - 14:24:42 PDT