Watching From Above:
The fleet of satellites in space provide humanity with technology that most people take for granted. However, the global Earth Observation satellites – an ever-evolving constellation of spacecraft – can be classed as life savers.
Monitoring the planet from their lofty positions in the heavens, their array of instrumentation provides key data to scientists and forecasters on the ground, allowing them to relay the information to the public.
This week has once again highlighted the usefulness of the Earth Observation assets.
Early on Tuesday one of the latest satellites heading towards its role in space sent back its first image of the planet it will be monitoring.
Launched just last month on an Ariane 5, Meteosat Second Generation-4 (MSG-4) tested its primary instrument – the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infra-red Imager (SEVIRI) – which builds images of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere in 12 different wavelengths once every 15 minutes.
The successful relaying of the stunning image provided confirmation the spacecraft is performing well and is on its way to becoming fully operational when required. It is currently undergoing six months of commissioning.
While ESA was responsible for the launch and early orbit phase, MSG-4 has since been handed over to EUMETSAT for its future operations.
However, it’s the active fleet of spacecraft that were busy providing images and data on a major threat to several countries in Asia this week.
Currently in the Pacific Ocean, Super typhoon Soudelor’s has now reached Category Five typhoon status on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale.