A new generation of meteorological satellites

Feb 27, 2012
Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) Imaging and Sounding satellites. The space segment procurement will include four MTG-I imaging and two MTG-S sounding satellites. Credits: ESA-P. Carril

(PhysOrg.com) -- Europe’s next fleet of meteorological satellites is set to debut in 2017, following today’s signing of the development contract. While Meteosat Third Generation will ensure full continuity with the current Meteosat satellite family, it will also introduce significant improvements.

At an event held today at ESA’s headquarters in Paris, the contract between ESA and Thales Alenia Space for developing the new Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) family of satellites was signed.

Following on from Meteosat Second Generation, MTG is a cooperative venture between Eumetsat and ESA, and will ensure continuity of high-resolution meteorological data to beyond 2037.

The cooperation on meteorological missions between Eumetsat and ESA is a success story that started with the first Meteosat satellite in 1977 and continues today with Meteosat Second Generation and the polar-orbiting MetOp series.

The new series will comprise six satellites: four MTG-I imaging and two MTG-S sounding satellites.

The first two prototype satellites are scheduled for launch in late 2017 and mid-2019, respectively. Both satellites will be positioned in geostationary orbit above the equator at a longitude between 10ºE and 10ºW.

The first MTG-I Imaging Satellite is expected in 2017. Its Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) will offer advanced imaging capabilities -- and ensure continuity with the current Meteosat Second Generation satellites. Credits: ESA-P. Carril

In addition to the advanced imaging capabilities offered by the Flexible Combined Imager, the satellites will offer an all-new infrared sounding capability and imaging of global lightning that will provide early warning of severe storms.

MTG-S will also carry the Sentinel-4 payload for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme. This advanced payload will analyse atmospheric chemistry and identify concentrations of trace gases like ozone and nitrogen dioxide.  

The MTG mission will also provide continued support to global search and rescue monitoring, as well as supporting the Advanced Data Collection System.

At Friday’s event, ESA Director General Jean Jacques Dordain highlighted that can today – and now well into the future – offer state-of-the-art meteorological global monitoring thanks to the 25-year collaboration between ESA and Eumetsat.

Mr Dordain recalled the launch of Meteosat-1 35 years ago, and praised the commitment of ESA, Eumetsat and all industrial partners to continuing the Meteosat legacy.

ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Volker Liebig, looked ahead to the significant improvements in performance from the new satellites.

In these difficult economic times, Prof. Liebig stressed, the programme offers many opportunities for European industrial companies to win substantial and high-technology contracts. The MTG contract has an industrial value of over €1.25 billion.

Speeches were also made by Eumetsat Director General Alain Ratier and Thales Alenia Space CEO Reynald Seznec.

The contract between ESA and Thales Alenia Space was signed by Mr. Liebig and Mr Seznec.

Thales Alenia Space leads the industrial consortium that 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 platforms, supported by Astrium GmbH as the System Architect.

The state-of-the-art Infrared Sounding Instrument, to be flown on MTG-S, will be developed by Kayser Threde.

Explore further: Why we need to keep adding leap seconds

Related Stories

Meteosat Third Generation development to start

Nov 19, 2010

Marking a significant milestone for Europe's next fleet of meteorological satellites, ESA has given the go-ahead to Thales Alenia Space in France to start work on developing the Meteosat Third Generation. ...

ESA and Thales Alenia Space enter negotiations for MTG

Mar 19, 2010

The tendering process that will result in the supply of Europe's next series of meteorological satellites, Meteosat Third Generation, has reached an advanced stage as ESA invites Thales Alenia Space to enter formal contract ...

Meteosat Third Generation takes a step forward

Feb 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Since the launch of the first Meteosat in 1977, 33 years of imagery combined with increasing computer power have given meteorologists the tools to improve weather forecasting, with direct ...

ESA to launch weather satellite Dec. 21

Dec 15, 2005

The European Space Agency says it will launch the second satellite in the Meteosat Second Generation family Dec. 21 from Kourou, French Guiana.

ESA sets MetOp-A launch date

Sep 14, 2006

The European Space Agency says the launch of MetOp-A, the first in a new European series of three meteorological satellites, will be Oct. 7.

Recommended for you

Radar guards against space debris

17 minutes ago

Space debris poses a growing threat to satellites and other spacecraft, which could be damaged in the event of a collision. A new German space surveillance system, schedu- led to go into operation in 2018, will help to prevent ...

Why we need to keep adding leap seconds

1 hour ago

Today at precisely 10am Australian Eastern Standard time, something chronologically peculiar will take place: there'll be an extra second between 09:59:59 and 10:00:00.

Helping Europe prepare for asteroid risk

2 hours ago

Each year, astronomers worldwide discover over 1000 new asteroids or other space rocks that could strike our planet. And if one is spotted heading towards Earth, experts working in ESA and national emergency ...

Image: Increasingly active Comet 67P

2 hours ago

On 13 August 2015, Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko will reach its closest point to the Sun along its 6.5-year long orbit. It will be around 185 million km from the Sun at 'perihelion', between the orbits ...

Image: Modeling Gaia's avionics on the ground

3 hours ago

A full-size working model of Gaia's internal systems arrived in Germany this week. The Avionics Model is mounted in a circular set-up representing the systems on the actual satellite, now orbiting the Sun–Earth ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.