The Meteosat-6 satellite acquired its first weather image on Monday 29 November 1993 at 14h25. A preliminary assessment has revealed that the image is of good quality and the radiometer, the satellite's principal instrument, is in perfect working condition.
Meteosat-6 was launched on Ariane flight V61 during the night of 19 to 20 November 1993, at 02h.17 Paris time (01h17 GMT). ESA's Operations Centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany, took over control of the spacecraft immediately after separation from the launcher. All commissioning and check-out operations have since been accomplished with success.
The next step will be cooling-down of the radiometer preparatory to acquisition of images in its two infrared channels. Meteosat-6 is expected to enter operational service in early February 1994, located at 0 deg longitude, above the Greenwich Meridian.
Meteosat-6 was developed and is being operated by ESA on behalf of EUMETSAT. As from the end of 1995, EUMETSAT will take over operations of all Meteosat spacecraft from ESA. The Meteosat spacecraft are manufactured by a consortium of European companies led by Aerospatiale of France, under contract to ESA.
Note to editors : Prints of the first Meteosat-6 image are available from ESA Public Relations in Paris and at ESOC, Darmstadt, as from Tuesday, 30 November 1993, 09h00. Further information on the first months in orbit of Meteosat-6 and the scheduled changes in the operations of the other Meteosat spacecraft can be found in ESA press release Nr 46 of 22 November 1993.