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The first U.S. Synchronous Meteorological Satellite (SMS-1), launched last May by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is in a 22,300-mile-high earth-synchronous orbit that keeps it continuously above one spot in the mid-Atlantic. From this lofty outpost, the satellite views weather systems over approximately one-third of the earth and sends back images of what it sees to receiving stations on earth every half hour, night and day.

The satellite images served as a basic tool for diiecting ship and aircraft operations during the study conducted last summer by GATE (the Global Atmospheric Research Program-Atlantic Tropical Experiment, sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization and the International Council of Scientific Unions). The purpose of the study, which ended in September, was to investigate tropical weather systems and their role as the driving force of the earth's atmosphere.