At 01:47 CET (21:47 Kourou time), EUMETSAT’s polar-orbiting meteorological satellite Metop-C was successfully launched on a Soyuz ST-B rocket from the European Space Port in Kourou, French Guiana.
Metop-C is the last in a series of three polar-orbiting satellites , developed in cooperation with ESA, which provides vital observations for weather forecasts up to 10 days ahead, as part of the EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS).
Metop-C carries nine instruments measuring mainly vertical profiles of temperature and humidity, cloud properties, atmospheric composition, sea surface temperature, wind at the ocean surface, sea ice parameters, vegetation parameters and soil moisture.
With the Metop-A and -B satellites still performing well in orbit beyond their design lifetime, the EUMETSAT EPS system is already providing the source of data that has the highest positive impact on global numerical weather prediction, in terms of reducing forecast errors one day ahead. In addition, EPS supports operational oceanography, marine meteorology, air quality forecasting and climate monitoring.
Forming a three-satellite constellation with Metop-A and-B until Metop-A is re-orbited in 2022, Metop-C will further improve weather forecasts up to 10 days ahead for the benefit of European citizens and our economy.
"Our EPS system..has brought meteorological observation from the polar orbit to a new standard"
Alain Ratier, Eumetsat’s Director General, said, "EUMETSAT is grateful to Arianespace for another successful launch, after those of Metop-A and Metop-B. It is now up to us to commission the satellite and instruments in partnership with ESA, CNES and NOAA, until the end of January. After this, our scientists will work with expert users to validate the output products, and bring the service to users to operational status in early spring 2019.
"Our EPS system and its Metop satellites equipped with innovative European instruments has brought meteorological observation from the polar orbit to a new standard, and this is another success of our cooperation with ESA.
"Through its positive impact on weather forecasts, EPS already produces socio-economic benefits of at least ¤5 billion per year in Europe, and we will do even better with a third satellite in operation.
"Metop-C also secures the transition with the EPS-SG system we are developing in cooperation with ESA, to launch a first Metop Second Generation satellite at the end of 2022."
Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, said, "Metop is Europe’s first series of polar-orbiting weather satellites designed and developed by ESA to fulfil EUMETSAT requirements. The launch of Metop-C is another achievement of the excellent cooperation between ESA and EUMETSAT, which now continues with the development of polar-orbiting Metop Second Generation satellites as well as geostationary Meteosat Third Generation satellites.