MSG flight model in spin test

Satellite stabilisation

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ESA / Applications / Observing the Earth / Meteorological missions / Meteosat

After an intensive trade-off study by European industry, on the choice between using a three-axis versus a spin-stabilized platform for MSG, it was decided in 1994 to continue with the spinning concept.

It has several clear advantages as it provides:

  • better geometric image quality
  • better spectral and geometric image resolution
  • better mission availability
  • moderate operational complexity
  • the same radiometric performance, at the expense of a slightly larger instrument aperture


The three axis stabilization would have implied a higher satellite mass at launch, raising the launch costs. It also imposes a very high satellite attitude control complexity, which in turn could imply degraded reliability, which is undesirable for an operational system.

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