Beyond MSG and MetOp

MSG will provide operational weather observations and environmental monitoring up until at least 2018. A follow-on operational meteorological satellite system is already being developed by ESA and Eumetsat, known as Meteosat Third Generation (MTG).

MTG fleet is set to debut in 2017 and will ensure continuity of high-resolution meteorological data to beyond 2037.

This next series of geostationary weather satellites will be a step change by providing significant improvements over the capabilities of the current Meteosat generation.

The series will comprise six satellites: four MTG-I imaging and two MTG-S sounding satellites. The two types will be positioned over the same longitude in their geostationary orbits.

The sounding element, which also carries the Sentinel-4 payload for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme as a guest payload, is a key innovation. For the first time, Meteosat satellites will not only image weather systems, but also analyse the atmosphere layer by layer and provide deeper insight into the complexities of its chemical composition.

The first MTG-I satellite is expected in late 2017, with the first MTG-S following in early 2019.

MSG water vapour product

Added to these are two atmospheric sounding missions:

  • The Infrared Sounding (IRS) mission to support Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) by providing atmospheric motion vectors through the tracking of three-dimensional water vapour patterns. It would also deliver more frequent information on vertical temperature and water-vapour profiles in the atmosphere.
  • The UV/Visible Sounding (UVS) mission to support air quality monitoring and forecasting, being able to monitor pollution clouds and plumes. It would also be used for UV radiation monitoring and forecasting.

The MTG satellites will be three-axis stabilised rather than spin-stabilised, allowing a much higher duty cycle for observing the Earth. Consideration is also being given to having two satellites to support the imagery and sounding missions respectively. This would entail up to eight satellites including back-ups, each with a design lifetime of 7.5 years.

Final mission definition is set to take place in 2006. Following the previous model of cooperation between the two international organisations, ESA will fund basic technologies as well as the first satellite, and will be the overall procurement agent for MTG satellites. EUMETSAT will define requirements and be responsible for the overall programme. A similar approach is being pursued for the follow-on EPS/MetOp successor system.

MSG water vapour product

Following a EUMETSAT User Consultation Process, a total of five candidate observation missions have been selected and feasibility studies are being carried out under ESA contract:

  • Three distinct imaging missions are dedicated to 'nowcasting' and very-short term forecasting. The High Resolution Fast Imagery (HRFI) mission to provide targeted local area coverage of active weather systems, including the vertical properties of clouds and the microphysical properties of cloud tops.
  • The Full Disk High Spectral-resolution Imagery (FDHSI) mission to be the successor to SEVIRI, delivering high radiometric performance in a large number of channels - 15 core and 10 optional – to cover the full Earth disk with a 10 minute repeat cycle and one to two kilometre resolution for optical and infrared channels.
  • The Lightning Imagery (LI) mission to provide day and night mapping of lightning discharges to improve warnings of severe storms. Its data would also be useful for atmospheric chemistry studies, with lightning playing a significant role in naturally generating nitrous oxides.

Added to these are two atmospheric sounding missions:

  • The Infrared Sounding (IRS) mission to support Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) by providing atmospheric motion vectors through the tracking of three-dimensional water vapour patterns. It would also deliver more frequent information on vertical temperature and water-vapour profiles in the atmosphere.
  • The UV/Visible Sounding (UVS) mission to support air quality monitoring and forecasting, being able to monitor pollution clouds and plumes. It would also be used for UV radiation monitoring and forecasting.

The MTG satellites will be three-axis stabilised rather than spin-stabilised, allowing a much higher duty cycle for observing the Earth. Consideration is also being given to having two satellites to support the imagery and sounding missions respectively. This would entail up to eight satellites including back-ups, each with a design lifetime of 7.5 years.

Final mission definition is set to take place in 2006. Following the previous model of cooperation between the two international organisations, ESA will fund basic technologies as well as the first satellite, and will be the overall procurement agent for MTG satellites. EUMETSAT will define requirements and be responsible for the overall programme. A similar approach is being pursued for the follow-on EPS/MetOp successor system.

Last update: 6 July 2012

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