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Launch and early orbit phase

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

Once in space, the satellites undergo a Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP), during which the various elements making up the satellite's platform are gradually switched on and assessed for proper functioning. At the same time the satellite is gradually steered into its final orbit.

This thorough check-out of systems is necessary before the satellite is put into operational service. In the case of the main SEVIRI imager, its scanning mechanism is locked in advance of launch, so needs to be safely unlocked. Then a decontamination exercise carried out before the first images are acquired then assessed for quality, with subsequent rectification carried out as needed.

Any system performance anomalies can be detected and investigated so that solutions could be put in place to limit their consequences.

LEOP is overseen by ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, under Eumetsat contract. ESA's team in ESOC ensures that MSG's voyage from the time it separates from Ariane 5 until it reaches geostationary orbit goes smoothly.

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