Meteosat

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The Meteosat series of satellites are geostationary meteorological satellites operated by EUMETSAT under the Meteosat Transition Programme (MTP) and the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) program.

The MTP program was established to ensure the operational continuity between the end of the successful Meteosat Operational Programme in 1995 and Meteosat Second Generation (MSG), which came into operation at the start of 2004 using improved satellites. The MSG program will provide service until the MTG (Meteosat Third Generation) program takes over.

First generation[edit]

A photograph of a Meteosat First Generation satellite prior to launch

The first generation of Meteosat satellites, Meteosat-1 to Meteosat-7, provided continuous and reliable meteorological observations from space to a large user community. Meteosat-1 to 6 have retired, but Meteosat-7 provides data from over the Indian Ocean, every half-hour in three spectral channels (Visible, Infrared) and Water Vapour, via the Meteosat Visible and Infrared Imager (MVIRI) instrument. Until 2017, Meteosat-7 provides the primary imagery coverage over the Indian Ocean and provides a service relaying data from Data Collection Platforms (DCP), such as buoys, in support of the Tsunami Warning System for the Indian Ocean. A range of processed meteorological products are also produced [1]

The satellites were manufactured by a consortium COSMOS, with Aérospatiale in its Cannes Mandelieu Space Centre, as Prime, and included Matra, MBB, Selenia Spazio, Marconi Company.

They are 2.1 metres in diameter and 3.195 metres long. Its initial mass in orbit is 282 kg, and in orbit, the satellite spins at 100 rpm around its main axis.[2]

Second Generation[edit]

Meteosat Second Generation

The contract for the second generation was awarded to Aérospatiale in its Cannes Mandelieu Space Centre (now Thales Alenia Space), with main subcontractors as Matra, Messerschmitt, Alenia.

Meteosat Second Generation was designed in response to user requirements to serve the needs of Nowcasting applications and numerical weather prediction. In addition, the GERB instrument provides important data for climate monitoring and research.

The satellites are spin-stabilised like the previous generation, but with many design improvements. The more frequent and comprehensive data collected by MSG also aids the weather forecaster in the swift recognition and prediction of dangerous weather phenomena such as thunderstorms, fog, and explosive development of small, but intense, depressions, which can lead to devastating wind storms.

The MSG satellites are 3.2 m in diameter and 2.4 m high and spin anti-clockwise at 100 RPM [3] at an altitude of 36,000 km.[4]

On 29 January 2004 the first Meteosat Second Generation satellite MSG-1, renamed to Meteosat-8 once operational, commenced routine operations. In addition to the main optical payload SEVIRI (Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager), Meteosat-8 also carries the secondary payload GERB (Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget) instrument.

The launch of MSG-2 (renamed to Meteosat-9) took place on 21 December 2005. The launch of MSG-3 (renamed to Meteosat-10) took place on 5 July 2012.

The MSG control centre in Darmstadt

Meteosat-7, -8, -9 and 10 are all operational. While Meteosat-7 is stationed over the Indian Ocean, Meteosat-8, -9 and -10 are all located over Africa with various differences in operational configuration. Meteosat-9 provides an operational European 'rapid scan' mode service (the MSG RSS service first commenced in May 2008), with images of Europe every 5 minutes. Meteosat-10 provides the main full Earth imagery service over Europe and Africa (with images every 15-minutes).

MSG-4 was successfully launched into space on 15 July 2015 at 18:42 local time on top a Ariane V Rocket from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. Like MSG-1, MSG-2 and MSG-3, MSG-4 was launched by Arianespace. The MSG-4 commissioning was successfully completed in December 2015 at which time the spacecraft was placed into in-orbit storage as planned, and renamed to Meteosat-11.

On 29 June 2016, EUMETSAT approved the proposal of relocating Meteosat-8 to 41.5°E, for the continuation of the Indian Ocean Data Coverage (IODC).[5] EUMETSAT initiated the relocation of Meteosat-8 in early July 2016, and the drift phase is planned to last until late September 2016. The IODC Meteosat-8 data will be distributed in parallel to the Meteosat-7 data, in the period from October 2016 to January 2017.[6] In the first quarter of 2017, Meteosat-8 will eventually replace Meteosat-7 which will be moved to its graveyard orbit.[7]

Secondary Payloads[edit]

Meteosat-8,-9, 10, and -11 each carry a GERB Instrument, DCP capable service equipment and a Search and Rescue signal Processor (SARP) that is capable of detecting 406 MHz distress signals from distress radiobeacons.[8] For SARP see more under Cospas-Sarsat.

Third Generation ("MTG")[edit]

Considering the long development cycle for a new observational space system, EUMETSAT has been working on the definition and the planning for a Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) system since the year 2000. MTG components providing continuity of MSG services need to be available before the end of the nominal lifetime of MSG. MTG preparatory activities started end of 2000 in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), following the decision of the EUMETSAT Council to proceed with a Post-MSG User Consultation Process. The process is aimed at capturing the foreseeable needs of users of EUMETSAT's satellite data in the 2015-2025 timeframe.[9]

On 19 March 2010, ESA choose Thales Alenia Space for a final negotiation leading to a contract to be signed during June.[10]

On 22 June 2010, EUMETSAT confirmed the choice of Thales Alenia Space.[11]

On 24 February 2012, the development contract between ESA and Thales Alenia Space was signed by Mr. Liebig and Mr Seznec. Thales Alenia Space leads the industrial consortium that is now building the MTG family. Along with being the prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space is responsible for the MTG-I imaging satellite, including the primary payload, the Flexible Combined Imager.
Bremen-based OHB is responsible for the MTG-S satellites and provision of the common satellite platforms, supported by Astrium GmbH as the System Architect.

References[edit]

  • EUMETSAT
  • "Perfect day for weather satellite". BBC News. December 21, 2005. Retrieved February 6, 2006. 
  • Krige, John. "Crossing the Interface from R&D to Operational Use: The Case of the European Meteorological Satellite," Technology and Culture, Volume 41, Number 1, January 2000, pp. 27–50.

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