The benefits from job swaps and multi-skilling – for satellites!

EUMETSAT has just completed a two-month-long series of manoeuvres involving its geostationary fleet of satellites over Europe and Africa – and users of their meteorological and climate data will reap the benefits.

Monday, 05 March 2018

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The changes affected three of EUMETSAT’s Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites, Meteosat-9, -10 and -11, and included bringing the newest of these, Meteosat-11, out of in-orbit storage and into active service.

The rearrangement, along with mission swaps among the fleet, ensures the best possible use of this satellite technology and greater availability of data, as disruption to services during scheduled maintenance or anomalies will be minimised.

MSG Spacecraft Operations Team Leader Lee Matheson said that, from today, the positions of the operational Meteosat fleet would be:

  • Meteosat-11 at 0° longitude, providing the Full Earth Scan service. This service provides an image of the full disc, or hemisphere, every 15 minutes.
  • Meteosat-10 at 9.5°E, providing the Rapid Scan Service. The RSS provides an image of Europe only every five minutes.
  • Meteosat-9 at 3.5°E, between the other two satellites, as back-up spacecraft.
  • The fourth member of the MSG fleet, Meteosat-8, is at 41.5°E, as part of an international Indian Ocean Data Coverage service.

“For the health and safety of the of SEVIRI (Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager) scanning instrument, we stop the RSS spacecraft for two days every 28 days and once per year for 28 days,” Matheson said.

“After Meteosat-8 moved over the Indian Ocean in 2016, there was no back-up satellite for the RSS service.

“Now, Meteosat-9 is available to perform the back-up RSS service during the scheduled downtimes of Meteosat-10.

“In addition, Meteosat-9 could provide the Full Earth Scan service when maintenance of Meteosat-11 is required and can be called into back-up for either of the other satellites if an anomaly occurs.

“That means the availability of data for users will significantly increase as a result of these manoeuvres and mission swaps.”

Availability of the RSS service will increase by 7 percent as a result of the changes.

The MSG satellites provide data crucial for weather forecasting, including “nowcasting” severe weather events, such as rapidly forming convective storms, as well as important information for monitoring climate change.

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