February 25, 2011
MTG programme receives full approval
Following the approval of Belgium, all 26 EUMETSAT Member States have now firmly committed to the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) programme.
The EUMETSAT Director-General, Dr. Lars Prahm, welcomed the good news: “It was not an easy process and the overall financial situation in Europe certainly did not help but I am very pleased to see that all Member States have now approved a vital programme which will assure the future of EUMETSAT’s geostationary observations over Europe, Africa and the Atlantic Ocean over the next few decades.”
Consisting of six satellites, MTG will secure Meteosat weather and climate data for Europe for the next 30 years. Operating from geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometres above the Earth’s surface, MTG will continue the uninterrupted collection of data by Meteosat satellites that began in 1977.
Due to advances in technology, MTG will also provide an enhanced service compared to the current Meteosat Second Generation (MSG), bringing significant improvements to the service already provided with an improved imagery mission and introducing the new sounding and lightning missions from geostationary orbit. MTG will operate over a longer period of time and at a slightly lower cost per year of in-orbit lifetime than Meteosat Second Generation (MSG), which it will start replacing in 2018.
Through its mission, MTG will introduce major improvements in Numerical Weather Prediction and Nowcasting of severe weather situations. Key applications will include more timely forecasting of severe thunderstorms which cause heavy precipitation and flooding, improved monitoring of aerosols and volcanic dust clouds, as well as air quality monitoring.
MTG quick facts
Four MTG-I imaging satellites, with the first launched in the 2018 timeframe
Two MTG-S sounding satellites, with the first launched around 18 months after MTG-I
Common three-axis stabilized platforms for both MTG-I and MTG-S
MTG-I: 2.8 tons
MTG-S: 3.1 tons
MTG-I: 16-channel Flexible Combined Imager and Lightning Imager
MTG-S: Infrared Sounder plus Sentinel-4 Ultraviolet Sounder instrument, part of Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES)
Cost of EUMETSAT MTG programme: around €2.37 billion at 2008 economic conditions
MTG programme established in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), responsible for the satellites’ development as part of the parallel ESA MTG programme
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 26 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and five Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, and Serbia).
EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8 and -9 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-6 and -7 over the Indian Ocean.
Metop-A, the first European polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, was launched in October 2006 and has been delivering operational data since 15 May 2007.
The Jason-2 ocean altimetry satellite, launched on 20 June 2008, added ocean surface topography to the missions EUMETSAT conducts.
The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites make a significant contribution to weather forecasting and to the monitoring of the global climate.