MSG-3, Europe's latest weather satellite, delivers first image

August 8, 2012
MSG-3, Europe's latest weather satellite, delivers first image

Today, the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) instrument on MSG-3 captured its first image of the Earth. This demonstrates that Europe’s latest geostationary weather satellite, launched on 5 July, is performing well and is on its way to taking over operational service after six months of commissioning.

The European Space Agency (ESA) was responsible for the initial operations after launch (the so-called launch and early orbit phase) of MSG-3 and handed over the satellite to EUMETSAT on 16 July.

The first image is a joint achievement by ESA, EUMETSAT, and the European space industry. For its mandatory programmes, EUMETSAT relies on ESA for the development of new satellites and the procurement of recurrent satellites like MSG-3. This cooperation model has made Europe a world leader in satellite meteorology by making best use of the respective expertise of the two agencies.

About Meteosat Second Generation

MSG is a joint programme undertaken by ESA and EUMETSAT. ESA is responsible for the development of satellites fulfilling user and system requirements defined by EUMETSAT and of the procurement of recurrent satellites on its behalf. ESA also performs the Launch and Early Orbit Phase operations required to place the spacecraft in geostationary orbit, before handing it over to EUMETSAT for exploitation.

EUMETSAT develops all ground systems required to deliver products and services to users and to respond to their evolving needs, procures launch services and operates the full system for the benefit of users.

MSG-3 is the third in a series of four satellites introduced in 2002. These spin-stabilised satellites carry the primary Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager, or SEVIRI. The prime contractor for the MSG satellites is Thales Alenia Space, with the SEVIRI instrument built by Astrium.

SEVIRI delivers enhanced weather coverage over and Africa in order to improve very short range forecasts, in particular for rapidly developing thunder storms or fog. It scans ’s surface and atmosphere every 15 minutes in 12 different wavelengths, to track cloud development.

SEVIRI can pick out features as small as a kilometre across in the visible bands, and three kilometres in the infrared.

In addition to its weather-watching mission and collection of climate records, MSG-3 has two secondary payloads.

The Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget sensor measures both the amount of solar energy that is reflected back into space and the infrared energy radiated by the Earth system, to better understand climate processes.

A Search & Rescue transponder will turn the into a relay for distress signals from emergency beacons.

The MSG satellites were built in Cannes, France, by a European industrial team led by Thales Alenia Space, France. More than 50 subcontractors from 13 European countries are involved.

The last of the series, MSG-4, is planned for launch in 2015.

Explore further: ESA to launch weather satellite Dec. 21

Related Stories

ESA to launch weather satellite Dec. 21

December 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

March 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 ...

ESA hands over MSG-3 weather satellite to EUMETSAT

July 17, 2012

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 ...

Recommended for you

Hubble captures a galactic waltz

November 26, 2015

This curious galaxy—only known by the seemingly random jumble of letters and numbers 2MASX J16270254+4328340—has been captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope dancing the crazed dance of a galactic merger. The ...


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.