The European Space Agency says it will launch the second satellite in the Meteosat Second Generation family Dec. 21 from Kourou, French Guiana.
The Paris-based ESA said the 5:33 p.m. EST launch window will last 28 minutes. It will be the second launch for the Meteosat Second Generation series of satellites operated by Arianespace and provided by the ESA to the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, or Eumetsat.
Also aboard the Ariane 5 rocket will be the Insat4A multipurpose satellite owned by the Indian Space Research Organization.
On separation from the launcher's upper stage 36 minutes after liftoff, the first signal from the satellite should reach ESA's control center.
ESA officials said the needs of users of meteorological data and images have changed since the introduction of satellite data for weather forecasting in 1977. Eumetsat, in cooperation with the ESA, has developed a second generation of satellite systems that substantially improves the services offered by the existing satellites.
ESA will cover the event live on the Web at
Copyright 2005 by United Press International
Explore further: Far from home: Wayward cluster is both tiny and distant