EUMETSAT and Arianespace sign contract for the launch of the first Metop-SG satellites

Today, EUMETSAT and Arianespace announced the signature of a contract entrusting Arianespace with the launch of the first two Metop-SG satellites of the EUMETSAT Polar System of Second Generation plus an option for the launch of a third satellite.

Monday, 11 September 2017

The EUMETSAT Polar System of Second Generation (EPS-SG) will replace the first generation EUMETSAT Polar System in the 2021-2023 timeframe and deliver more and even better observations than the current Metop satellites. With three successive pairs of Metop-SG A and Metop-SG B satellites carrying two different sets of innovative instruments and flying on the same mid-morning polar orbit, EPS-SG will be exploited for at least 21 years by EUMETSAT.

Under the signed contract, Arianespace will launch the 4-ton class Metop-SG A1 and Metop-SG B1 satellites from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, using the same Soyuz launch vehicle as for Metop-C, the third and last Metop first generation satellite manifested for launch in autumn 2018. The contract includes an option for a Soyuz launch service for a third Metop-SG satellite, for which EUMETSAT is also offered the possibility to use Ariane-62.

The EUMETSAT Director-General, Alain Ratier, said: “The signature of this contract is a key milestone towards the initial deployment of our EPS-SG system. We know we can count on the reliability of Soyuz and on Arianespace’s services and unique experience in handling complex Earth observation satellites like Metop”. 

Arianespace Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël added: "We are proud and honored of the confidence placed by EUMETSAT in Arianespace’s launch solutions. Entrusting Arianespace with the initial launches of EUMETSAT’s second-generation, advanced meteorological satellites in its EPS-SG series reflects the exceptional nature of our partnership. Not only does it enable Arianespace to continue providing secured and autonomous access to space for European institutions, it also enables us – through this project – to contribute to the sustainable development of our planet, which is one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

About EUMETSAT

The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 30 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and one Cooperating State (Serbia).

EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-9, -10 and -11 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-8 over the Indian Ocean.

EUMETSAT operates two Metop polar-orbiting satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

EUMETSAT is also a partner in the cooperative high precision ocean altimetry Jason missions involving Europe and the United States (Jason-2, Jason-3 and Jason-CS/Sentinel-6).

The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and climate change.

The European Union has entrusted EUMETSAT with exploiting the four Sentinel missions of the Copernicus space component dedicated to the monitoring of atmosphere, ocean and climate on its behalf. EUMETSAT will carry out these tasks in cooperation with ESA.

EUMETSAT has established cooperation with operators of Earth Observation satellites from Europe and China, India, Japan, Russia and the United States.

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