An image gallery showing ESA’s mission control team training for the launch and critical early operations of MetOp-B, set for liftoff on 23 May.
Mission controllers at the ESOC operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, conduct extensive simulations in the months leading up to launch, and in particular practise how to react to any unexpected problems.
The mission's critical launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) will be conducted at ESOC, and about ten days after liftoff, the satellite will be handed over to Eumetsat for routine operations.
Developed as a joint undertaking between ESA and Eumetsat, the MetOp programme involves three identical satellites for continuous observations until 2020.
The first in the series, MetOp-A, was launched in 2006 and marked a new era in operational meteorology – it was Europe’s first weather satellite to orbit Earth from pole to pole. It is now time to launch the second in the series: MetOp-B.
The satellites carry a host of sensitive instruments to provide key information on a wide range of variables such as temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction over oceans, ozone and other atmospheric gases for numerical weather prediction and climate monitoring.