ESA Press informationnote N 06-98 Paris, 9 March 1998
The structural and thermal model for the first spacecraft of the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) programme will be presented to the media at ESA/ESTEC, the European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands, on Tuesday 24 March 1998 before undergoing thermal testing in the Large Space Simulator test facility.
This is an important milestone in the development of the MSG programme which is ongoing since mid-1995 and which comprises three spacecrafts:
The MSG design makes effective use of the most advanced technology to significantly improve the quality of meteorological satellite data from a geostationary orbit. A new weather image will be provided every 15 minutes in 12 channels of the visible and infra-red spectrum, instead of every 30 minutes in 3 channels on the current Meteosat satellites, and with twice the resolution. This, together with enhanced data dissemination capabilities, will result in a dramatic increase in capabilities for monitoring weather patterns over the Atlantic Ocean, Europe and Africa and for the prediction and warning of severe storms and other potentially hazardous phenomena. The Meteosat Second Generation satellites will also contribute significantly to climate monitoring and Earth science research.
This series of three satellites will be launched and operated under EUMETSAT authority and is being developed by ESA and European industry, led by Aerospatiale (France) for a total amount of approximately 600 millions ECUs.
Meteosat: Each day in Europe, television channels broadcast weather images supplied by Meteosat satellites. The initial Meteosat system was developed by ESA and the first satellite in the series was launched in 1977. A further six Meteosat have since been launched.
In January 1987, five months after it entered into force, EUMETSAT took over formal responsibility for the Meteosat system. On 1st December 1995, EUMETSAT took over from ESA the operations of Meteosat satellites from its new dedicated Control Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.
EUMETSAT: EUMETSAT is an inter-governmental organisation created in 1986. It has 17 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom). EUMETSAT's primary objective is to establish, maintain and exploit European systems of operational meteorological satellites. Member States contribute financially to new programmes on a scale based on gross national product.
ESA: The European Space Agency has 14 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). Its purpose is to provide for and promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications with a view of to their being used for scientific purposes and for space applications systems.
Background information on Meteosat Second Generation is available at the ESA Homepage http://www.esa.int, then go to Earth Observation and to MSG.