Successful launch for Europe’s newest weather satellite
18 Sep 2012
MetOp-B, the European polar orbiting weather satellite, was successfully launched on 17th September 2012 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
(JPG, 6.6 Mb)
From its polar orbit 817 kilometres above Earth, MetOp-B will provide a broad range of measurements vital to weather forecasting and climate monitoring.
Designed and manufactured by Astrium, MetOp-B is the second in a series of three weather satellites that the European Space Agency (ESA) and Eumetsat, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, have commissioned from Astrium. The satellites are being launched at intervals of five to six years (MetOp-A was launched in 2006 and MetOp-C is scheduled for launch orbit at the end of 2017).
Weather monitoring satellites are essential in guaranteeing the safety of citizens, infrastructure and industry in Europe and elsewhere. They alone possess the capability to provide weather and climate data spanning the whole planet and on a continual basis.
The MetOp satellites carry a host of sensitive instruments to provide key information on many variables such as temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction over oceans, ozone and other atmospheric gases.
Since MetOp-A is still in service, the two satellites will orbit in tandem, increasing this wealth of data even further.