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Thales Alenia Space-built MSG-4 weather satellite in orbit

Thales Alenia Space-built MSG-4 weather satellite in orbit


Cannes, July 16, 2015 – The fourth Meteosat Second Generation weather satellite, MSG-4, built by Thales Alenia Space and contracted by ESA on behalf of EUMETSAT, was successfully orbited by Arianespace using an Ariane 5 launcher from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

MSG-4 will be operated by EUMETSAT and will provide meteorological data and monitor the climate across Europe from its position in geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometers above the Equator, at 3.4. West longitude. The last in a series of four second-generation satellites, MSG-4 will initially be stored in-orbit until it is needed as a replacement for the one of its predecessors, the MSG-1, MSG-2 and MSG-3 satellites, launched in August 2002, December 2005 and July 2012, respectively. MSG-4 becomes the 11th Thales Alenia Space weather satellite orbited since the end of the 1970s.

Building on nearly 40 years of experience in this demanding area, Thales Alenia Space is more than ever doing its utmost to maintain its European leadership in geostationary weather satellites providing global monitoring. MSG-4 will carry on the assigned mission for this second-generation family, namely to ensure continuous meteorological observation capacity for Europe until 2025.

Preparations are already under way for the next generation MTG (Meteosat Third Generation) satellites. For the first time, these satellites will feature a geostationary atmospheric sounding mission.

Meteosat Second Generation satellites have significantly improved the analysis of weather data. These spin-stabilized satellites (100 rpm) incorporate a number of advanced technologies. They deliver an updated image every 15 minutes (versus 30 minutes for first-generation satellites) and have also improved image quality due to a significant increase in the number of observation channels, along with better radiometric performance and revisit cycles cut in half.

"In the run-up to the COP21 climate change conference later this year, Thales Alenia Space is proud of its long-standing contribution to the Meteosat program," said Jean-Loïc Galle, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. "Over the last 30 years, millions of people have watched weather forecasts based on Meteosat images, seeing high- and low-pressure zones, cloud cover and other striking satellite pictures on their TVs. In addition to these daily weather forecasts, Meteosat satellites provide vital data used to predict violent weather-related events, including storms, hurricanes and flooding, while also monitoring long-term climate changes. Customers have placed their trust in us since the beginning of geostationary meteorological systems. We continue to capitalize on our unrivaled expertise to give them increasingly sophisticated satellites, such as the MTG already under construction. But we have also drawn on our expertise to develop two other satellites dedicated to the climate and environment, for launch this year: Jason-3 to carry on the operational oceanography mission, and Sentinel-3A for Europe's vast Copernicus program."


About Thales Alenia Space

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%), is a key European player in space telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, exploration and orbital infrastructures. Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio form the two parent companies' “Space Alliance”, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. Because of its unrivaled expertise in dual (civil/military) missions, constellations, flexible payloads, altimetry, meteorology and high-resolution optical and radar instruments, Thales Alenia Space is the natural partner to countries that want to expand their space program. The company posted consolidated revenues in excess of 2 billion euros in 2014, and has 7,500 employees in eight countries.

Sandrine Bielecki
+33 (0)4 92 92 70 94
Press Officer - Chrystelle Dugimont
+33 (0)4 92 92 74 06