Airbus-built MetOp-C weather satellite prepares for launch


Airbus-built MetOp-C weather satellite prepares for launch

Press release from: Airbus Defense and Space
Posted: Tuesday April 17th 2018

The MetOp-C weather satellite is preparing for its next launch to join its siblings and further improve the quality of observations and data provided for weather forecasting.

Built by Airbus, MetOp-C is the latest in the first generation of the EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS) series of three polar-orbiting satellites, and is scheduled to be launched on September 18, 2018 from the European Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. , aboard a Soyuz rocket.

The MetOp program has improved the accuracy of weather forecasts and made it possible to extend short-term forecasts by one day.

“MetOp satellites are technologically advanced and their instruments are always state-of-the-art,” said EUMETSAT Director General Alain Ratier. “We are fortunate and unexpected to soon have three MetOps in orbit at the same time, as MetOp-A, which was launched in 2006, has far exceeded its design life of five years and will remain in orbit. until 2022.”

“Building on the operational success and exceptional longevity of the MetOp satellites, we are always pleased to have been entrusted with the preparation of MetOp-SG, the next generation of low Earth orbit weather satellites for EUMETSAT and ESA. Said Mathilde Royer Germain, Director of Earth Observation, Navigation and Science at Airbus, during a presentation of the satellite to the press.

The MetOp satellites were developed by Airbus Defense and Space for the European Space Agency (ESA) and EUMETSAT, the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and are part of a joint Europe-US cooperation.

Initially, each satellite was intended to replace its predecessor, however, the excellent performance of the first two MetOp satellites allows them to be operated simultaneously, providing the meteorological community with increased data. The upcoming launch of MetOp-C will further improve the quality of observations and data provided for weather forecasting.

Each MetOp satellite carries a total of 12 instruments (10 for MetOp-C), making the system extremely versatile. Two of the instruments were built by Airbus: the Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) and the Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT). The MHS, built by Airbus, measures water vapor near the Earth’s surface and is the result of collaboration with the United States.

Two additional microwave humidity sounders are already flying on US NOAA satellites, providing corresponding data from a different orbit to improve weather models.

The other instrument built by Airbus, the “Advanced Scatterometer” (ASCAT) is an active radar instrument that measures offshore wind speed and direction. It also provides data on ice and snow cover as well as surface moisture. ASCAT will scan two 500 kilometer wide corridors and can therefore provide almost global coverage in 24 hours.

MetOp also measures ocean surface winds, observes sea ice distribution and monitors the ozone layer in the stratosphere, as well as relays weather measurements collected by boats, buoys and research stations. MetOp A and B also have a receiver to relay signals sent by people in distress.

In addition to the expected benefits on weather forecasting, MetOp-C will continue the time series of data started by MetOp-A, and this long-term perspective is crucial for climate monitoring.

Under development at Airbus, the MetOp-SG will provide continuity and enrichment of meteorological data with improved spectral and spatial resolution compared to the measurements currently provided by the first generation of MetOp satellites. A full range of observations will be made using 10 different instruments, covering the ultraviolet, visible, infrared and microwave spectral bands.

From 2021, MetOp-SG will further increase the benefits of accurate weather forecasting based on cutting-edge European technologies and continue to contribute to multi-billion euro socio-economic benefits for European citizens.

About Airbus

Airbus is a world leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2017, it generated a turnover of 67 billion euros – or 59 billion euros restated for IFRS 15 – and employed around 129,000 people. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of airliners from 100 to over 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader in tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the world’s most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions.

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