Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor of the MetOp (Meteorological Operational Polar) weather satellite programme, a collaboration between EUMETSAT, ESA, CNES and NOAA. Airbus Defence and Space also built the SEVIRI instrument flying on board the 8 Meteosat satellites.
Understanding and predicting the weather is a key factor in understanding our environment. Delivering long term accurate weather forecasting takes a unique satellite programme. Identical datasets must be available over long timescales which leads to mission requirements of identical satellites launched in sequence. Accurate Numerical Weather Models are needed to help predict our changing climate. Data form other satellite also feed in to advance climate models.
MetOp - The Meteorological Satellites
The first low-earth orbiting meter ology satellite for EUMETSA T, it carries 11 scientific instruments
MetOp-A, Europe’s first polar orbiting weather satellite, provides high precision weather data that helps businesses, farmers and security organizations.
Replaced MetOp A as the prime operational weather satellite in April 2013, the identical satellite ensures continuous service for a further five years
In September 2012 MetOp-B, the second in the series, was launched and operates in tandem with MetOp-A. The two satellites fly the same orbit, half an orbit apart, to better observe rapid atmosphere evolutions. The duo has increased the wealth of data even further, collecting data from low Earth orbit essential for accurate forecasts up to 12 days ahead.
The third satellite in the series, MetOp C will be launched as MetOp B reaches its end of life, giving at least 14 years of continuous monitoring.
Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, has signed the formal contracts with the European Space Agency (ESA) to design and build the second generation of Meteorological Operational (MetOp-SG) satellites.
MetOp-SG comprises two series of satellites, with three units in each series. The Satellite A series focuses on optical instruments and atmospheric sounders, while the Satellite B series focuses on microwave instruments.