EUMETSAT Polar System - Second Generation

EPS-SG is EUMETSAT's next generation of polar-orbiting satellites, following on from earlier successful missions.

This next generation, following on from EUMETSAT Polar System programme (Metop), will secure the continuation of meteorological observations from the polar orbit in the 2022-2043 timeframe. It will bring observations to a new standard, through the suite of innovative European instruments flown on the Metop-SG spacecraft.

The EPS-SG mission is composed of two series of spacecraft, Metop-SG A and B, flying on the same mid-morning orbit, like the current Metop satellites. The orbit height is in the range 823-848 (dependent on latitudes). There will be three satellites each of Metop-SG A and Metop-SG B.

Planned launch dates



Why the EPS-SG mission?


Key features of the new mission:

1. Continuation of provision of information to improve Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) in Europe and worldwide.
2. Nowcasting applications, especially at high latitudes where geostationary measurements are not available.
3. Operational oceanography through the delivery of ocean surface wind vectors, sea surface temperature, sea ice cover, and other marine products.
4. High spectral and spatial resolution soundings and imagery in the spectrum ranging from ultraviolet to the thermal infrared to serve Atmospheric Chemistry applications.
5. Precipitation, soil moisture and snow measurements to serve operational hydrology and water management.
6. Large scale land surface analysis in support of land-atmosphere interactions and biosphere applications through optical imaging mission.
7. Support of climate monitoring, based on the production of relevant Climate Data Records, also involving heritage observations from the EPS Programme.

How does it work?

Illustration of Metop-SG satellites in space

Metop-SG A is an atmospheric sounding and imaging mission. It has a suite of infrared, microwave, and imaging instruments for sounding temperature, moisture and trace gases in the atmosphere:
Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI-NG)
Microwave Sounder (MWS)
Multi-viewing, Multi-channel, Multi-polarisation Imager (3MI)
Sentinel-5 instrument.

Metop-SG B is a microwave imaging mission, focused on radar observations of ocean-surface wind and soil moisture and all-weather microwave imagery of precipitation and ice clouds:
Scatterometer (SCA)
Microwave Imager (MWI)
Ice Cloud Imager (ICI)

Both satellites are equipped with a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Radio-Occultation (RO) instrument for limb sounding of temperature and humidity at high vertical resolution.

How will I get the data?


The existing multi-mission dissemination and delivery mechanisms are being evolved to deliver the future EPS-SG data to users.

Existing Data Access and Delivery Mechanisms

Planned launch dates

Satellite Planned Launch date Start of Routine Operations Details
Metop-SG A1 Q4 2022 Q2 2023 823–848 km, METimage, IASI-NG, MWS, Sentinel-5, 3MI, RO
Metop-SG B1 Q4 2023 Q2 2024 823–848 km, SCA, MWI, ICI, RO, ADCS-4
Metop-SG A2 Q4 2029   823–848 km, METimage, IASI-NG, MWS, Sentinel-5, 3MI, RO
Metop-SG B2 Q4 2030   823–848 km, SCA, MWI, ICI, RO, ADCS-4
Metop-SG A3 Q4 2036   823–848 km, METimage, IASI-NG, MWS, Sentinel-5, 3MI, RO
Metop-SG B3 Q4 2037   817 km, SCA, MWI, ICI, RO, ADCS-4

EPS-SG documentation

Further reading on the plans for mission can be found on the Science plans webpage.

Mission facts

  • EPS-SG is a partnership programme, which involves ESA, DLR and CNES.
  • It is Europe’s contribution to the Joint Polar System to be shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • EPS-SG has three new instruments (3MI, MWI and ICI), two of which have never been flown before on an operational satellite (3MI and ICI), will provide observations of precipitation, aerosols and ice clouds.
  • Numerical Weather Prediction at regional and global scales will benefit from the EPS-SG enhanced infrared, microwave, and radio-occultation soundings of temperature and humidity, polar atmospheric motion vectors extracted from optical imagery, novel precipitation and cloud measurements of imagers in the optical, sub-millimetre and microwave spectra, and high-resolution ocean surface wind-vector and soil moisture measurements extracted from scatterometer observations.
  • Metop-SG A also carries the Copernicus Sentinel-5 spectrometer for measurements of trace gases which, in combinations with those of IASI-NG, 3MI and METimage, will improve air quality forecasts produced by the Copernicus Atmosphere monitoring service.
  • The other key component of the EPS-SG system is a comprehensive ground segment including all facilities required to control the satellites, acquire and process the data and deliver the extracted products to users worldwide.
  • The Metop-SG satellites are developed under ESA contract by a European industrial consortium led by Airbus Defence and Space, which also develops the IASI-NG, METimage and Sentinel-5 instruments under CNES, DLR and ESA contracts.
  • EUMETSAT procures all launch services, develops the full ground infrastructure and integrates and validates the full system.
  • All EPS-SG observations will be reprocessed for the production of climate records of a large number of essential climate variables.
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