February 24, 2012
MTG contract signed
On 24 February, the development contract for Europe's third generation of geostationary meteorological satellites was signed between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Thales Alenia Space.
On 24 February, the development contract for Europe's third generation of geostationary meteorological satellites was signed between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Thales Alenia Space at ESA headquarters in Paris with representatives from EUMETSAT present at the event. Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) will ensure full continuity with and significant enhancements to the current generation of Meteosat satellites.
MTG is being implemented through the successful cooperation model that EUMETSAT and ESA have jointly developed over the past decades. This model has made Europe a world leader in satellite meteorology, making best use of the respective competencies of the two organisations. In the context of this model, ESA acts as development and procurement agency for the satellites on behalf of EUMETSAT. The related ground systems are developed by EUMETSAT itself, procuring main elements of it from European contractors. EUMETSAT will also procure the launch services for all the satellites, the launch and early operation phase services, and operate the mission.
The current second generation of Meteosat satellites (MSG) is delivering a wealth of benefits, securing the safety of citizens, infrastructure and industry in Europe - and beyond. The highly advanced Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) instrument on board the MSG satellites has proven to be vital for weather forecasting and safety warnings especially in situations of severe weather or fog and also provide additional capabilities for environmental (volcanic ash) monitoring, and Meteosat satellites, through long time series, also contribute to climate monitoring.
Given their importance, the continuity of these observations – as well as their improvement to match future requirements - is crucial for Europe. With the signature of the MTG development contract, this has now been secured.
The new Meteosat series will comprise a total of six satellites: four MTG-I imaging and two MTG-S sounding satellites. The first two prototype satellites are scheduled to be launched in late 2017 and mid-2019, respectively. Both satellites will be positioned in geostationary orbit above the equator at a longitude between 10 degrees east and 10 degrees west.
The imaging capabilities offered by the Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) onboard MTG-I constitute a major enhancement to what is already an impressive delivery. In addition, the MTG-S satellites will offer world-premiere infrared sounding as well as global lightning imaging capabilities. The latter constitutes a major improvement in support of aviation.
The MTG-S satellite will also accommodate the Sentinel-4 payload for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme. This payload will provide the Meteosat satellites with an advanced capability to analyse atmospheric chemistry and identify concentrations of trace gases like ozone and NO2.
The MTG mission will also provide continued support to global search and rescue monitoring, as well as to the Advanced Data Collection System.
The event was attended by EUMETSAT Director-General Alain Ratier.
The contract between ESA and Thales Alenia Space was signed by Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, and Reynald Seznec, the Chief Operating Officer of Thales Alenia Space, which leads the European consortium that will build the MTG satellites.