EPS A Spot

Plans for Metop-A end of life

EPS A Spot
EPS A Spot

Metop-A is planned to be de-orbited in November 2021.

Last Updated

31 March 2021

Published on

01 April 2021

The Metop-A satellite, launched on 19 October 2006, has massively exceeded its design lifetime of five years. However, it is now time for it to retire.

Thermal constraints imposed by Metop-A drift mean that it is difficult to guarantee the spacecraft safety in Winter 2021-2022, particularly in the case of contingencies where the payload of the satellite is switched off, cooling down the satellite. Therefore, EUMETSAT is planning to terminate the life of Metop-A starting in November 2021, in compliance with space debris mitigation guidelines.

The foreseen timeline is as follows:

  • 21 October 2021: IASI data dissemination stops for both the global and the regional services.
  • 16 November 2021: Metop-A de-orbiting starts. HRPT (direct readout) is turned off and dissemination of all instrument data stops for both the global and the regional services.
  • 29 November 2021: All instruments powered off.
  • 3 December 2021: End of Life of Metop-A.

Note: All dates are planned dates, to be confirmed in due time.

An early end-of-mission is planned for the IASI instrument due to the execution of technology tests associated with Metop-A End of Life. The so-called ‘Campaign IV’, the last campaign of these technology tests, aims at identifying new ways to improve Metop operations and products, gaining important knowledge on the behaviour of the instruments and possibly providing unique datasets useful for the preparation of the MTG and EPS-SG missions. As part of this Campaign IV (foreseen to start tentatively on 21 October 2021), a number of tests on the IASI instrument will be carried out, resulting in a degradation of data quality, hence the plan to stop IASI data dissemination on that date.

More details will be provided in due course.

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