July 05, 2012 – Cannes, France (Techreleased) – MSG-3, the third satellite in the Meteosat Second Generation series built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor on behalf of the European Space Agency and Eumetsat (European Meteorological Satellite organization), was successfully orbited today at (06:36 pm local time, 11:36 pm in Paris) by an Ariane 5 launch from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.
MSG-3 will provide meteorological data and monitor the climate across Europe from its position in geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometers above the Equator, at 0° longitude. The third in a series of four second-generation satellites, MSG-3 will join the MSG-1 and MSG-2 satellites, successfully launched in August 2002 and December 2005. MSG-3, to be renamed Meteosat-10 once it enters service, will be the 10th Thales Alenia Space weather satellite orbited since the end of the 1970s. Building on 35 years of experience in this demanding area, Thales Alenia Space is more than ever doing its utmost to maintain its European leadership in geostationary weather satellites providing global service. MSG-3 will carry on the assigned mission for this family, namely to ensure continuous meteorological observation capacity for Europe until 2020. The last member of this family, MSG-4, is now being integrated at Thales Alenia Space’s Cannes plant on the French Riviera, and is scheduled for launch in 2015.
Meteosat Second Generation satellites have significantly improved the analysis of weather data. These spin-stabilized satellites (100 rpm) incorporate a number of advanced technologies. They deliver an updated image every 15 minutes (versus 30 minutes for first-generation satellites) and have also considerably improved image quality, due to the significant increase in the number of observation channels, along with better radiometric performance and revisit cycles cut in half.
The next generation of Meteosat satellites, (Meteosat Third Generation, or MTG), will add, for the first time, an atmospheric sounding mission from geostationary orbit.
“Our Meteosat story doesn’t stop with today’s launch, because we were also selected by ESA and Eumetsat for six new third-generation satellites, in collaboration with our partner, OHB of Germany,” noted Reynald Seznec, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “We are leveraging our long experience in this area, stretching over 35 years, to give our customers, who have trusted us since the beginning, geostationary weather satellites that are increasingly sophisticated and remain at the cutting edge of global weather monitoring. The future of modern meteorology is taking shape right now in the clean rooms of Thales Alenia Space!”