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N° 42–1996: Meteosat second generation

26 September 1996

ESA/Eumetsat Cooperation Agreement
Mr Jean-Marie Luton, the ESA Director General, and Mr Tillmann Mohr, the Director of Eumetsat, today signed a Cooperation Agreement on the procurement by ESA for Eumetsat of two further weather satellites of the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG-2 and MSG-3).

The MSG series of satellites and ground processing facilities will provide continuity of observations after the end of the current generation of Meteosat satellites until well into the next Century.

- MSG-1, the first satellite in the series is to carry as the main payload an advanced radiometer for Eumetsat's requirements and a radiation budget experiment as a result of an ESA announcement of opportunity. It is currently being developed by ESA and scheduled for launch in the year 2000.

- MSG-2 and MSG-3 will be procured by ESA on behalf of Eumetsat. They will be built by European industry under ESA contract and are scheduled for launch in 2002 and 2007. Eumetsat will launch and operate the three satelittes and provide data until 2012.

The MSG design makes effective use of the most advanced technology to improve significantly the quality of weather satellite data. 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 capacities, will result in a dramatic increase in capabilities for monitoring weather patterns over the Atlantic Ocean, Europe and Africa and for the prediction and warnings of severe storms and other potentially hazardous phenomena. The MSG satellites will also contribute significantly to climate monitoring.

Following the signatures of this ESA/Eumetsat agreement, M. Jean-Marie Luton, ESA Director General, and Mr Yves Michot, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aerospatiale, the prime contractor, in the presence of Dr Tillmann Mohr, Director of Eumetsat signed the contract covering the industrial development of the three MSG satellites for an amount of 601,4 Millions ECU.

Note to editors 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 Meteosats 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 operation of Meteosat satellites from its new dedicated Control Centre.


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 to their being used for scientific purposes and for space applications systems.


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.