Flown on NASA's Nimbus-7 satellite, its primary goal is to continue the high-resolution global mapping of total ozone on a daily basis. The Nimbus-7 launch in 1978 enabled TOMS to begin delivering data in 1979 and continue providing information until 1993. TOMS has mapped the total amount of ozone between the ground and the top of the atmosphere, provided the first maps of the ozone hole, and continues to monitor this phenomenon.
Because of its longevity, TOMS also has obtained information on the more subtle trends in ozone outside the ozone hole region. This results from development of a powerful new calibration technique that removes the instrument measurement drift that developed over the years. With this technique applied to the TOMS 14.5-year data record, a global ozone decrease of 2.69 percent per decade was detected.
To ensure that ozone data will be available through the next decade, NASA will continue the TOMS program using U.S. and foreign launches. In 1991, the former Soviet Union launched a Meteor-3 satellite carrying a TOMS instrument provided by NASA. A third TOMS will be launched onboard a NASA Earth probe satellite in 1994, and the Japanese Advanced Earth Observations Satellite (ADEOS) will carry a fourth TOMS when it launches in 1996.