February 17, 2012
Metop-B launch date set for 23 May
Darmstadt, 17 February – Following a management meeting with Arianespace, the launch date of the Metop-B polar-orbiting satellite has been set for 23 May 2012.
On that date, after lift-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Metop-B satellite will be delivered by a Soyuz 2.1a launcher to an 817 km high, sun-synchronous orbit.
Metop-B will join Metop-A to continue the service provided since 15 May 2007 by Europe’s first polar-orbiting meteorological satellite for at least another five years. This service delivers critical input data to the Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models exploited by National Meteorological Services to produce forecasts up to 10 days and safety warnings at shorter range. Metop data are also essential for the nowcasting of high impact weather at higher latitudes, as well as for climate monitoring applications.
The Metop satellite series is the result of the successful cooperation model with ESA who develops the satellites according to EUMETSAT’s requirements and procures recurrent units on the latter’s behalf. All Metop satellites are manufactured by a European consortium led by EADS Astrium.
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 27 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia (pending ratification), 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 four Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Iceland, Lithuania, and Serbia).
EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8 and -9 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-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 monitoring of sea state, ocean currents and sea level change to the missions EUMETSAT conducts.
The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and the global climate.