EUMETSAT has started trial dissemination of MSG-3 image data and meteorological products to national meteorological services in the organisation’s Member and Cooperating States and to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).
Launched on 5 July, MSG-3 is the latest in the Meteosat series of geostationary satellites. The satellite’s commissioning period is progressing well such that the trial dissemination of MSG-3 image data and meteorological products has started. It will be followed by dissemination to the wider user community in mid-December, when MSG-3 commissioning is scheduled to be completed and the satellite is renamed Meteosat-10. This will be followed, in mid-January 2013, by the satellite moving to 0º to deliver the operational service.
Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites provide the operational weather and climate monitoring service over Europe and Africa, based on their optimum use as a two-satellite system: one satellite provides full disc imagery of the European and African continents and parts of the Atlantic and Indian oceans every 15 minutes, while the second delivers more frequent images every five minutes (Rapid Scanning Service) over Europe and North Africa.
Starting in mid-December, Meteosat-10 will conduct full disc scanning for two months in parallel with Meteosat-9, before it takes over, in mid-January, the role of providing the operational service over Europe and Africa, every 15 minutes.
Meteosat-9 will, at a later date, take over the Rapid Scanning Service from Meteosat-8 – the first MSG launched in 2002. Meteosat-8 will then become the in-orbit backup satellite for Meteosat-10 and Meteosat-9 at least until the MSG-4 launch planned for 2015.
Meteosat-9 and -10 will then constitute the two-satellite configuration supporting weather forecasters in one of their most challenging tasks, nowcasting, which involves detecting and monitoring rapidly developing high impact weather phenomena like thunderstorms or fog and issuing related warnings.
About Meteosat Second Generation
MSG is a joint programme undertaken by ESA and EUMETSAT. ESA is responsible for the development of satellites fulfilling user and system requirements defined by EUMETSAT and of the procurement of recurrent satellites on its behalf. ESA also performs the Launch and Early Orbit Phase operations required to place the spacecraft in geostationary orbit, before handing it over to EUMETSAT for exploitation.
EUMETSAT develops all ground systems required to deliver products and services to users and to respond to their evolving needs, procures launch services and operates the full system for the benefit of users.
MSG-3 is the third in a series of four satellites introduced in 2002. These spin-stabilised satellites carry the primary Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager, or SEVIRI. The prime contractor for the MSG satellites is Thales Alenia Space, with the SEVIRI instrument built by Astrium.
SEVIRI delivers enhanced weather coverage over Europe and Africa in order to improve very short range forecasts, in particular for rapidly developing thunder storms or fog. It scans Earth’s surface and atmosphere every 15 minutes in 12 different wavelengths, to track cloud development.
SEVIRI can pick out features as small as a kilometre across in the visible bands, and three kilometres in the infrared.
In addition to its weather-watching mission and collection of climate records, MSG-3 has two secondary payloads
• The Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget sensor measures both the amount of solar energy that is reflected back into space and the infrared energy radiated by the Earth system, to better understand climate processes.
• A Search & Rescue transponder will turn the satellite into a relay for distress signals from emergency beacons.
The MSG satellites were built in Cannes, France, by a European industrial team led by Thales Alenia Space, France. More than 50 subcontractors from 13 European countries are involved.
The last of the series, MSG-4, is planned for launch in 2015.
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 26 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and five Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, and Serbia).
EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8 and -9 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-7 over the Indian Ocean. The third Meteosat Second Generation satellite, MSG-3, was launched on 5 July 2012 and will be renamed Meteosat-10 after commissioning is complete.
Metop-A, the first European polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, was launched in October 2006 and has been delivering operational data since 15 May 2007. It will be replaced by Metop-B, which was launched on 17 September 2012.
The Jason-2 ocean altimetry satellite, launched on 20 June 2008, added monitoring of sea state, ocean currents and sea level change to the missions EUMETSAT conducts.
The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and the global climate.