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N° 45–1999: First time viewing of Europe's future geostationary meteorological satellite

11 November 1999

On 23 November 1999, the first flight model of Europe's Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite will be on display at the Cannes facility of Alcatel Space, the Prime Contractor. MSG is the new geostationary meteorological satellite system and is the result of close cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). The launch of MSG-1 is scheduled for the end of 2000 on an Ariane launcher.

The satellite's main feature is the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI). Its 12 different spectral channels will provide 20 times more information than the current Meteosat, offering new and, in some cases, unique capabilities in cloud imaging and tracking, fog detection, measurement of the earth surface and cloud top temperatures, tracking ozone patterns, as well as many other improved performances. A new weather image will be provided every 15 minutes instead of every 30 minutes, as at present. The data circulation system will also be improved by allowing much higher data rates both for transmission (3.2 Mbps) and dissemination (1 Mbps). This, together with the enhanced imagery, will result in a dramatic increase in capabilities for monitoring weather patterns over the Atlantic Ocean, Europe and Africa and for the prediction and warning of severe storms and other potentially hazardous phenomena.

The viewing of MSG-1 will follow a press conference organised jointly by ESA, EUMETSAT, and Alcatel Space (invitation and programme attached) during which high-level representatives from the three organisations will present a comprehensive picture of the satellite, including its development, benefits, user requirements, and operations. A brief overview of EUMETSAT's new role in climate monitoring, supported by the GERB instrument carried on MSG, will also be given. The presentation will conclude with a short video showing the main satellite tests.

Representatives of the media are invited to complete and return the attached form to Alcatel Space, as indicated.

Note to Editors

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 intergovernmental organisation that establishes and maintains operational meteorological satellites for 17 European States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom). From July 1999 EUMETSAT also has two Cooperating States (the Republic of Slovakia and the Republic of Hungary). The images and data from Meteosat make a significant contribution to weather forecasting throughout Europe and neighbouring continents.

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, and in January 1987, five months after it entered into force, EUMETSAT took over formal responsibility for the Meteosat system. On 1 December 1995 EUMETSAT began operating Meteosat satellites from its new dedicated Control Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

MSG: the roles of ESA and EUMETSAT
The ESA MSG programme includes the design and development of the prototype satellite coordinated between the two organisations, the support to launch, LEOP and commissioning of MSG-1. ESA also acts, on behalf of EUMETSAT, as procurement agent for MSG-2 and MSG-3 satellites.

In addition to the coordination of user requirements and specification of the system, the EUMETSAT MSG programme includes the procurement of the two recurring satellite models, the launch of all three satellites, the development of a ground segment and the operation of the complete system over the 12 year programme lifetime.

For further information please contact:

Madeleine Pooley Franco Bonacina
Information Services Division Public Relations Division
Tel. :49 (0) 6151 807 606 Tel. :33 (0) 1 5369 7155
Fax.:49 (0) 6151 807 612 Fax. :33 (0) 1 5369 7690
E-mail: E-mail:
Web: (select Meteosat Second Generation)