The Meteosat program is celebrating its birthday, 42 years after the first satellite was launched in 1977.
Meteosat-1 was launched on November 23, 1977. Placed in geostationary orbit at 0 degrees longitude, it provided a permanent view over most of Europe, the whole of Africa, the Middle East and the eastern half of South America.
For the past 42 years Meteosat satellites have been sending weather images back to Earth for viewing by millions watching the weather report on daily news shows.
From Meteosat to MTG
European meteorology has become increasingly accurate over the years, thanks to the advanced technology of the Meteosat satellite family, with direct benefits for the general public.
With the first-generation Meteosat satellites, images were updated every 30 minutes, a figure reduced to 15 minutes on the second generation. MTG (Meteosat Third Generation) will further reduce this refresh rate to 10 minutes, making weather forecasts increasingly accurate.
Focus on MTG-I
The MTG series of weather satellites will not only guarantee data continuity for weather forecasting from geostationary orbit over the next two decades, but also significantly enhance imager performance, while providing a brand-new infrared sounding capability and real-time lightning imaging for early detection of severe storms.
MTG-I‘s instruments and payload electronics are currently being integrated and tested as they are delivered to Thales Alenia Space. The next major milestone will be the delivery of the Flexible Combined Imager, a state-of-the-art telescope, by autumn 2020, kicking off the final stage of satellite testing. This will include environmental testing, where we simulate the vacuum and extreme temperatures in orbit.
Thales Alenia Space is a global center of excellence in meteorology, having built all geostationary European meteorological satellites since the outset. Our expertise reaches back to 1977. All in all, we have been prime contractor since then for the construction of seven first-generation Meteosat satellites, four second-generation satellites (MSG) and six third-generation models (MTG), including four imaging and two sounding satellites.
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