On #WorldMetDay EUMETSAT and Arianespace sign weather satellite launch

Two satellites from the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) system will be launched by Ariane 6, thus bringing this meteorological geostationary fleet to its full potential.


Darmstadt, 23.03.2021 – The Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites form the most complex and innovative meteorological geostationary system ever developed. Operated by EUMETSAT, they will provide an unprecedented 4D weather monitoring capability, taking over from the current Meteosat Second Generation satellites to ensure an enhanced continuity of meteorological data.

Last Updated

12 April 2021

Published on

23 March 2021


Today, EUMETSAT and Arianespace updated their agreement to launch two satellites from the MTG system with the next generation of Ariane launchers: Ariane 6. The sounder satellite MTG- S1 should be put into orbit in the first half of 2024, while the imager satellite MTG-I2 should be launched no earlier than the second half of 2025; both will then remain in the same geostationary position, 36,000km above Earth for 8.5 years, continuously informing weather forecasters, climate scientists, and other meteorological data users about Earth physico-chemical parameters with unprecedented accuracy and frequency.

“The development and implementation of the MTG Earth observation system are absolute priorities for EUMETSAT and we are very happy to further enhance our collaboration with Arianespace for these launches,” explained Phil Evans, Director-General of EUMETSAT. “The MTG fleet is expected to greatly improve the timeliness and the accuracy of the weather predictions issued by the national meteorological and hydrological services in our Member States and our other users. The imager on MTG-I2, in particular, will enable real-time nowcasting of extreme weather events, such as storms, with such precision that we expect it to literally save lives.”

Stéphane Israël, the Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, added: “We are honored by this further demonstration of EUMETSAT’s trust in our launch service solution. Last year, the European meteorological operator already demonstrated its confidence in the next generation of European launchers with its signature of the Joint statement on the institutional exploitation of Ariane 6 and Vega C. The update of our agreement is a new milestone in our partnership that already placed into orbit 13 satellites operated by EUMETSAT.”

The Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) meteorological system is developed jointly by EUMETSAT and ESA. It will comprise four imager satellites (MTG –I1 to –I4) and two sounder satellites (MTG – S1 and S2) which will be launched from 2022 for MTG-I1 and 2033 for MTG-I4.

The MTG imager satellites will provide very high resolution images of clouds and lightning over Europe every 2.5 minutes, thus enabling weather forecasters to follow the evolution of extreme weather events with a resolution that is currently unachievable, and to send more accurate and efficient alerts. These data will be complemented by the worldwide first operational infrared sounder in a geostationary orbit on board the MTG sounder satellites, providing data on the nature and concentration of aerosols and pollutants such as ozone or nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere, and on vertical profiles of air temperature and moisture.

The data provided by the MTG satellites will be made accessible to users in near-real time via the new data services currently being developed at EUMETSAT. This new generation of cloud-based services will provide the users of our data with easier access to the information they need, and to more powerful tools to work with it.

Beyond the accuracy of the weather predictions, the immense quantity of data generated by this unique fleet of satellites and their remote sensors will also support future efforts to model the Earth system, better understand current climate changes, and ultimately adapt more efficiently.