ESA hands over MSG-3 weather satellite to EUMETSAT

Jul 17, 2012
Meteosat Second Generation (MSG), Europe's latest weather satellite, operates in geostationary orbit at 0° Longitude over the West coast of Africa, from where it continuously scans the same quarter of the globe, showing the development and progression of weather systems and providing valuable data for Numerical Weather Prediction and climate monitoring. Credits: ESA/D. Ducros

Since the launch of MSG-3, ESA’s mission controllers have been working to ensure that this latest weather satellite’s voyage to 36 000 km above the Equator runs smoothly. With MSG-3 healthy and now in its place of work, ESA has handed operations over to Eumetsat.
 
The third Meteosat Second Generation satellite took to the skies on an Ariane 5 rocket on 5 July from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Once fully operational, it will deliver essential information from geostationary orbit to monitor the weather over Europe, Africa and parts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

ESA is responsible for developing the series of satellites and performing the critical Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) on behalf of Eumetsat, the European Organisation for Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, who then commission the payload and carry out routine operations.

The 11-day LEOP has involved several critical tasks for the team at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

The mission controllers have completed four engine burns to put the in the correct orbit. These consumed almost 800 kg of propellants, about 80% of the total available.

As a result, the satellite is nearly in its geostationary orbit, drifting slowly east toward its final orbit position.

In addition, the meteorological instrument covers have been released, safely outside geostationary orbit. The instrument has been heated to drive off any contaminants and water vapour from the sensitive surfaces.

ESA’s MSG-3 Spacecraft Operations Manager, Chris Watson, said, “This is the third MSG we have launched, so you could say that we are familiar with the behaviour of the spacecraft.

“Nonetheless, MSG-3 managed to find a few minor surprises for us.

“Overall, though, this early phase has been extremely smooth and we are happy that this resource for weather forecasting has been brought safely to its place of work.”

Eumetsat now takes responsibility for MSG-3 and will commission it over last about six months. This includes checking that the imaging service is fully functional and delivers high-quality products for weather forecasting.

When fully operational, Eumetsat will rename MSG-3 as Meteosat-10.

Meteosat-10 joins its predecessor Meteosat-9 to keep a constant watch on developing weather systems.

Explore further: Is space tourism safe or do civilians risk health effects?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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 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 ...

Recommended for you

Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

13 hours ago

(Phys.org) —As it soared past Saturn's large moon Titan recently, NASA's Cassini spacecraft caught a glimpse of bright sunlight reflecting off hydrocarbon seas.

Is space tourism safe or do civilians risk health effects?

16 hours ago

Several companies are developing spacecraft designed to take ordinary citizens, not astronauts, on short trips into space. "Space tourism" and short periods of weightlessness appear to be safe for most individuals ...

An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?

19 hours ago

Sputnik was launched more than 50 years ago. Since then we have seen missions launched to Mercury, Mars and to all the planets within the solar system. We have sent a dozen men to the moon and many more to ...

NASA image: Sunrise from the International Space Station

20 hours ago

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this image of a sunrise, captured from the International Space Station, to social media on Oct. 29, 2014. Wiseman wrote, "Not every day is easy. Yesterday was a tough one. ...

Copernicus operations secured until 2021

20 hours ago

In a landmark agreement for Europe's Copernicus programme, the European Commission and ESA have signed an Agreement of over €3 billion to manage and implement the Copernicus 'space component' between 2014 ...

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.