Invitation to media - Viewing Europe’s MTG-I weather satellite before launch in Cannes

Journalists will have a rare opportunity to see the first of the latest-generation European weather satellites, the Meteosat Third Generation Imager, MTG-I 1, in the cleanroom of prime contractor Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France, on Wednesday, 7 September, 2022.

During the visit programme, registered media can take pictures of the impressive space hardware in the cleanroom area before it is being prepared for shipment to Kourou for launch. High-ranking experts from ESA Earth Observation, Thales Alenia Space (TAS), Eumetsat and others are available on site for interviews.

(Only with prior registration and clearance by TAS Security)

09:30 - Check-in at TAS Cannes

10:00-12:00 - Management introductions and senior expert presentations, among them:

  • Massimo Comparini: SVP Observation Exploration Navigation Thales Alenia Space (tbc)
  • Simonetta Cheli: ESA Director of Earth Observation Programmes
  • Cristian Bank: Eumetsat Director Programme Preparation & Development
  • Paul Blythe: ESA MTG Programme Manager, ESA Earth Observation Programmes

Plus more senior managers from Eumetsat, Météo-France, TAS, Leonardo and OHB.
This will be followed by Media Q&A and individual interview possibilities.

14:00-16:00 - Group visits of the TAS cleanrooms in Cannes

Background on European weather satellites

MTG is a cooperation between ESA and Eumetsat. ESA is responsible for the definition and implementation of the MTG satellites and procurement of recurrent hardware, while Eumetsat is in charge of operating the spacecraft throughout its lifetime.

Following the success of the first and second generation of Europe’s Meteosat weather satellites, the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) will soon take over the reins to ensure the continuity of data from geostationary orbit, 36 000 km above Earth.

The combination of MTG’s increased resolution imaging data and state-of-the-art sounding products will take weather forecasting capabilities to the next level, particularly for the challenging task of nowcasting.

Nowcasting relates to the monitoring and prediction, in quasi real time, of rapidly evolving, and potentially damaging, weather phenomena such as severe thunderstorms. Earlier detection of such phenomena will increase the available reaction time for issuing severe weather warnings and implementing the necessary measures to avoid potentially catastrophic impacts.

To meet more than the 20-year operational life of the mission, the full MTG system comprises six satellites, four imaging satellites (MTG-I) and two sounding satellites (MTG-S). Now it’s time to launch the first MTG-I satellite, MTG-I 1.

This new satellite is equipped with a Flexible Combined Imager to deliver a full image of Earth every 10 minutes to monitor and forecast the weather. It can zoom in to deliver images of selected regions which is key for issuing timely warnings and relevant for air traffic safety.


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