Meteosat Third Generation

Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) is EUMETSAT's next generation of geostationary satellites, following on from earlier successful missions.

Meteosat Third Generation full constellation

This next generation, following on from Meteosat Second Generation, will provide an evolution of the imaging service, including a new Lightning Imager, and a state-of-the-art atmospheric sounding service providing measurements in the infrared and ultraviolet spectrum.

To achieve these services, MTG will see the launch of six new geostationary satellites from 2021 onwards. The satellite series will be based on 3-axis platforms and comprise:

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

The full operational configuration will consist of two MTG-I satellites operating in tandem, one scanning Europe and Africa every 10 minutes, and the other scanning only Europe every 2.5 minutes, and one MTG-S satellite.


Launch dates

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

Live satellite data viewers


Why the MTg mission?


Key features of the new mission:

1. Continuity of observation in the visible spectrum from geostationary orbit.
2. Better spatial, temporal & radiometric resolution data for enhanced Nowcasting (NWC) applications.
3. New lightning image data to support Nowcasting applications.
4. Infrared & ultraviolet/visible soundings for 3D probing of the atmosphere
5. Enriched input to Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) data assimilation & the future derivation of quantitative products.
6. New ways to follow weather systems ‘from the cradle to grave’.

MTG Imaging Service
MTG Sounding Service

How does it work?

Illustration of MTG satellites in space

The imaging satellites, MTG-I, carries the Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) and the Lightning Imager (LI) instruments. The sounding satellites, MTG-S, include an interferometer, the Infrared Sounder (IRS) and the Copernicus Sentinel-4 instrument, a high resolution Ultraviolet Visible Near-infrared (UVN) spectrometer.

For further details on the instruments onboard the MTG satellites, including their scanning modes, follow the respective links:
Flexible Combined Imager (FCI)
Lightning Imager (LI)
Infrared Sounder (IRS)
Ultraviolet Sounder (UVN)

What data will be available?


The FCI provides 16 spectral channels of image data, with a basic full disc repeat cycle of 10 mins, and a European regional rapid scan, which covers quarter of the full disk, with a repeat cycle of 2.5 mins. The LI provides real-time (goal of 30-sec timeliness) lightning detection measurements. The IRS provides hyperspectral sounding data every 30 mins over Europe, less frequently over other regions. The UVN monitors trace gas concentrations and aerosols with a hourly revisit time during the day over Europe. The EUMETSAT Satellite Application Facilities (SAF) plan to produce a range of geophysical products based on MTG. More details on the service and products that will be available:
MTG data
SAF data based on MTG

How will I get the data and in which format?


The existing multi-mission dissemination and delivery mechanisms are being evolved to deliver the future MTG data to users. NetCDF-4 is the baseline delivery format for the FCI, LI and IRS instrument level 1 data and level 2 geophysical products. Selected products will also be available in BUFR and GRIB2, ensuring continuity with the existing service. Further details on how to access MTG data, the data formats and examples of test data:
Existing Data Access and Delivery Mechanisms
Evolutions to EUMETCast services for the MTG era
MTG Data Formats
MTG User Test Data

How can I learn about future capabilities?


To explore the future capabilities of MTG take a look at various weather phenomena and environmental events based on MTG proxy instruments (third party and heritage).

The image library contains MTG related case studies and provides the opportunity to filter on topics of interest.
MTG Related Cases

Are there similar instruments to those on MTG?


In addition to the heritage instruments on EUMETSAT’s satellites (SEVIRI & IASI), other satellite operators are already providing data similar to those expected for MTG, e.g. GOES-16 and Himawari-8. Some data are available via EUMETCast. An overview of how MTG compares to current geostationary satellites: GEO Mission Comparisons - User Cheatsheet.
GOES-16 ABI Imager
GOES-16 GLM Lightning Imager
Himawari-8 AHI Imager
MODIS Imager
Metop IASI Infrared Sounder
WMO OSCAR satellite list
Live satellite data viewers

Planned launch dates

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

MTG in Operations

MTG operations will commence following the successful commissioning of the first imaging satellite, MTG-I1 (expected to be one year after launch). The full operational capacity will only be achieved once the first sounder and the second imaging satellite have been commissioned. During early operations, the heritage services provided by the current MSG satellites will be operated in parallel to the new MTG services

MTG in Operations

MTG documentation

Further reading on the requirements, product algorithm baselines and other mission can be found on the MTG Resources webpage.

Mission facts

  • Meteosat Third Generation aims to secure continuity and to increase the capabilities of the Meteosat satellites in response to requirements of the future forecast/nowcast systems.
  • Novelty instruments in the GEO orbit are Infrared Sounder, Lightning Imager and Ultraviolet Visible Near-infrared (UVN) Spectrometer.
  • Three in-orbit satellites deliver the full mission capacity, providing 0 degree Full Disc Service, Rapid Scanning Service (RSS) and Sounding services.
  • MTG imaging novelties are introduced through advanced temporal resolution (10 min v 20 min for MSG Full Disc, 2.5 min v 5 min for MSG in RSS), spatial resolution (500 m/1 km v 1 km/3 km for MSG) and radiometric and spectral resolution (16 channels v 12 channels for MSG).
  • High timelines for continuous observations of total lightning in geostationary field of view will be provided by LI instrument.
  • The infrared and UVN sounding missions aim to deliver new capabilities for the real-time monitoring of atmospheric profiles, air quality (e.g. tropospheric ozone and carbon monoxide) and dispersion of atmospheric pollution.
  • Provision for a continued Data Collection Service and GEO Search And Rescue (GEOSAR) Relay Service.
  • User involvement in the continuing development of the MTG system continues through the EUMETSAT delegate bodies and dedicated Mission Advisory Groups (MAG).
  • Prioritised high level user-driven needs taken as inputs for the MTG joint EUMETSAT/ESA definition phase, leading to the establishment of the MTG End-User Requirements Document (EURD).
  • European consortium led by Thales Alenia Space of France currently building the MTG spacecraft.
  • EUMETSAT is the design authority for the associated ground segment. It will integrate into the existing multi-mission ground network infrastructure.


Figure 8
Illustration of 3D probing of atmosphere with the future generation of geostationary satellites
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