The MTG system is being established through cooperation between EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency (ESA). ESA has already contributed to the initial research and development of the new satellites. The first MTG-I and MTG-S prototypes are being developed by ESA as part of its MTG programme. The EUMETSAT MTG programme includes the procurement of the four recurrent satellites — three MTG-Is and one additional MTG-S — as well as six launches; the development of the ground segment, and the operations of all satellites.
The Euronews video (right) provides a useful introduction to past and future developments in European satellite meteorology, with particular reference to the MTG programme.
The MTG series will comprise six satellites, with the first spacecraft likely to be ready for launch from 2020. The in orbit configuration will consist of two parallel positioned satellites, the MTG-I (imager) and the MTG-S (sounder) platforms. Unlike the first and second generation Meteosat series, MTG will be based on three axes stabilised platforms, meaning the instruments will be pointed at the Earth for 100% of their in orbit time. Such improvements are necessary to achieve compliance with more demanding user requirements on spatial resolution; repeat cycle and signal to noise ratio, and are a prerequisite to conduct soundings from geostationary orbit.
MTG-I satellites will fly the Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) and an imaging lightning detection instrument the Lightning Imager (LI). The MTG-S will include an interferometer the InfraRed Sounder (IRS), with hyper-spectral resolution in the thermal spectral domain, and the Sentinel-4 instrument, the high resolution Ultraviolet Visible Near-infrared (UVN) spectrometer.
The programme should guarantee access to space-acquired meteorological data until at least the late 2030s.
Third Generation — Bigger and Better
Europe's first imaging meteorological satellite (800kg) was launched in 1977 with just three spectral channels. Today's second generation Meteosat imager has 12 spectral channels and it is a 2-tonne class spacecraft. The planned Meteosat Third Generation imaging capability will be a 3-tonne satellite with 16 nominal channels. MTG adds a second platform, a sounding satellite to observe the different layers within the atmosphere. The sounder will be one of the key innovations in the new programme, allowing Meteosat satellites, for the first time, to not just image weather systems but to analyse the atmosphere layer-by-layer and perform far more detailed chemical composition studies.
The MTG system is being established through cooperation between EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency (ESA) . ESA has already contributed to the initial research and development of the new satellites. EUMETSAT will fund the satellite development, ground segment develop and future operations for the full lifetime of the satellite series.
Prioritised high level user-driven needs were taken as inputs for MTG joint EUMETSAT / ESA definition phase, with the ultimate objective being to establish MTG Mission Requirements (PDF, 940 KB). More than 50 leading experts, in a variety of disciplines, have been involved. They have represented operational and research organisations from Europe, the United States and other international partners, as well as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
A European consortium led by Thales Alenia Space of France, contracted by ESA, on behalf of EUMETSAT, will now build the MTG spacecraft.
EUMETSAT is the design authority for the associated ground segment. The EUMETSAT ground segment project team will establish the architecture of the ground segment facilities. The development of the facilities will under contract to European industry. To optimise operational activities and to ensure best value for money, EUMETSAT will integrate the new MTG development into the existing multi-mission ground network infrastructure, which is common to first and second generation Meteosat, Metop and Jason missions.