MSG-1 weather satellite in position

October 4, 2002

Brussels, 03 Oct 2002

The second generation Meteosat (MSG-1) has arrived in position at 10.5 degrees west geostationary orbit, 36,000 kilometres above the earth.

Operation of the spacecraft was handed to EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) last week. They will now activate the onboard instruments and begin testing in preparation for the transmission of the first images from the satellite, expected by the end of October.

The MSG programme is a joint project between EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency (ESA). José Achache, ESA's director of Earth observation programmes, said of the achievement 'From the development of the satellite to the careful positioning of the satellite to its orbit, ESA and EUMETSAT have worked hand in hand to provide European citizens and beyond with a reliable weather forecasting tool.'

The project, which will cost a total of 1.3 billion euro, is expected to provide detailed information on the earth's climate and weather patterns for the next 12 years.

Among the instruments in the satellite's payload is the geostationary earth radiation budget (GERB), which will measure the planet's radiation balance, the energy source that drives our climate. It is hoped that GERB will prove a useful tool in analysing and combating climate change.

Dr Jacqui Russell, science coordinator for the GERB project, says that 'climate change is an issue of vital concern for today's society. Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are altering the composition of the Earth's atmosphere and affecting the radiation balance that drives our climate. We will learn much more about how our complex climate system behaves, and increase our ability to predict climate change by using GERB.'

To follow the progress of the Meteosat programme, consult the ESAs website at: http://www.esa.int/meteosat2g

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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