EUMETSAT to continue purchasing data from the commercial space sector


EUMETSAT Council agrees to continue purchasing radio occultation data after pilot contract finishes


EUMETSAT, Europe’s meteorological satellite agency, will continue purchasing data from a commercial satellite operator and distributing them for use in weather forecasting.

Last Updated

29 November 2023

Published on

29 November 2023

EUMETSAT’s council, meeting in Darmstadt, Germany, today approved the continued purchase of radio occultation data from Spire Global Luxembourg Sarl, after an initial pilot programme demonstrated benefits for weather forecasting accuracy and value for money.

The contract is for an initial period of two years, from 2024-2026, with three optional, one-year extensions.

Radio occultation data provide information about the temperature and level of moisture in the atmosphere. EUMETSAT’s Metop satellites provide radio occultation data but the pilot programme demonstrated that the use of more of these data has a positive impact on weather forecasting accuracy.

“EUMETSAT will continue to monitor the quality of the purchased data, which we will receive in near-real time, process and redistribute globally,” EUMETSAT Director-General Phil Evans said.

“It was important to EUMETSAT that the terms of this contract allow us to redistribute the data globally, in line with the World Meteorological Organization’s principle of free and open data exchange.

“Additionally, we will benefit from similar approaches currently taken by other meteorological satellite agencies, such as the US’s National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, which also purchases radio occultation data and is able to distribute them to us.

“In this way, EUMETSAT is reinforcing the value of this type of commercial arrangement, with the benefits felt by the citizens of our member states, and other communities globally, through more data for weather forecasting models.”

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