MSG-3 in the starting blocks!
MSG-3, the third satellite in the Meteosat Second Generation series designed and built by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency and Eumetsat, is ready to be launched by Arianespace at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.
All propellants have now been loaded on the third Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite, and it has been mated to the Ariane 5 launcher at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. Launch is scheduled for Wednesday, July 5th, 2012.
Thales Alenia Space has been prime contractor for Europe's weather satellites for more than 30 years. After having delivered seven first-generation Meteosat satellites, Thales Alenia Space was selected in the mid-90s to deliver four second-generation satellites (MSG). The first two MSG satellites were successfully launched in August 2002 and December 2005. The third member of this family will be positioned in geostationary orbit at about 36,000 kilometers, at 0° longitude. Weighing over 2,000 kg at launch, MSG-3 (renamed Meteosat-10 once in orbit) has a design life of seven years. It is fitted with 12 imaging channels, and will provide an updated image every 15 minutes (versus every 30 minutes on first generation satellites). MSG-3 will operate in 12 bandwidths, from visible to infrared, with spatial resolutions from 1 to 3 km.
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Meteosat Second Generation satellites have significantly improved the analysis of weather data in Europe since the early 2000s. These spin-stabilized satellites (100 rpm) can retransmit highly detailed images of Europe, the North Atlantic and Africa, for use by meteorologists and national weather services throughout Europe. They incorporate technological advances that have considerably improved image quality, due to the significant increase in the number of observation channels, along with better radiometric performance and revisit cycles cut in half.
"Meteorological data impacts a large number of decisions concerning the European economy, in particular for transportation and the generation of electrical power," explained Patrick Mauté, Vice President for Optical Observation and Sciences at Thales Alenia Space. "By better understanding this data at national and international levels, we can plan ahead for severe and even dangerous weather conditions, and thus provide information that helps protect our citizens. These space-based resources are a vital component of the global weather watch and planetary observation."
Source : Thales Group (Paris: HO.PA)