Meteosat Third Generation

Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) will see the launch of six new geostationary (imaging and sounding) satellites from 2021 onwards.

Meteosat Third Generation full constellation

The MTG programme should guarantee access to space-acquired meteorological data until at least the early 2040s. The benefits of MTG.

Third Generation — Bigger and Better

Twin Satellite Concept, based on 3-axis platforms.

  1. Four Imaging Satellites (MTG-I) (20 years of operational services expected)
  2. Two Sounding Satellites (MTG-S) (15.5 years of operational services expected)

The full capability for the MTG mission is reached by employing one sounder satellite (MTG-S) and two imaging satellites (MTG-I), one of which performs a Full Disc Scanning Service (FDSS) and the other performs the Rapid Scanning Service (RSS).

Payload complement of the MTG-I satellites:

The Flexible Combined Imager (FCI)

The Lightning Imager (LI)

The Data Collection System (DCS) and Search and Rescue (GEOSAR)

Payload complement of the MTG-S satellites:

The Infrared Sounder (IRS)

The Ultra-violet, Visible and Near-infrared Sounder (UVN)

The sounder will be one of the key innovations in the new programme, for the first time allowing Meteosat satellites to image weather systems and analyse the atmosphere layer-by-layer, therefore, performing far more detailed chemical composition studies.

In-depth details on the instruments can be found on the MTG Design page.

MTG planned launch dates
Satellite Planned Launch date Details
MTG I1 Q4 2021 Meteosat Third Generation/ Imaging (FCI, LI, DCS, GEOSAR)
MTG S1 Q1 2023 Meteosat Third Generation/ Sounding (IRS, UVN)
MTG I2 Q3 2025 Meteosat Third Generation/ Imaging (FCI, LI)
MTG I3 Q2 2028 Meteosat Third Generation/ Imaging (FCI, LI)
MTG S2 Q4 2030 Meteosat Third Generation/ Sounding (IRS, UVN)
MTG I4 Q4 2032 Meteosat Third Generation/ Imaging (FCI, LI)

Programme overview

The MTG system is being established through cooperation between EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency. ESA has already contributed to the initial research and development of the new satellites.

The first MTG-I and MTG-S prototypes are being developed by ESA as part of its MTG programme. The EUMETSAT MTG programme includes the procurement of the four recurrent satellites, ground segment development, and future operations. 

Prioritised high level user-driven needs were taken as inputs for the MTG joint EUMETSAT/ESA definition phase, leading to the establishment of the MTG End-User Requirements Document (EURD).

More than 50 leading experts, in a variety of disciplines, were involved. They represented operational and research organisations from Europe, the United States, and other international partners, as well as the World Meteorological Organization.  User involvement in the continuing development of the MTG system continues through the EUMETSAT delegate bodies and dedicated Mission Advisory Groups (MAG).

A European consortium led by Thales Alenia Space of France, contracted by ESA, on behalf of EUMETSAT, is currently building the MTG spacecraft.

EUMETSAT is the design authority for the associated ground segment. The EUMETSAT ground segment project team is establishing the architecture of the ground segment facilities.

The development of the facilities will be done under contract by European industry. To optimise operational activities and to ensure best value for money, EUMETSAT will integrate the new MTG development into the existing multi-mission ground network infrastructure, which is common to first and second generation Meteosat, Metop and Jason missions.

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