Metop-1Artist's Impressions - Various

METOP artist view

Credits: ESA - D. Ducros

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Artist view of ESA's MetOp polar weather satellite, in orbit. The MetOp series will be Europe's first polar-orbiting satellites dedicated to operational meteorology to complement the hemispheric survey conducted from geostationary by the Meteosat system. MetOp satellites will be operated in partnership with the United States own polar weather satellite system providing data that will be used to monitor our climate and improve weather forecasting. MetOp is a joint program of ESA and European Meteorological Satellite Organization (Eumetsat) to form the space segment of Eumetsat's Polar System (EPS). ESA is funding 64% of MetOp 1 while Eumetsat funds the rest and will all of the follow-on satellite. The first satellite of the series is currently planned for launch in October 2006 from Baykonour cosmodrome, Kazahstan, on top of a Russian Soyuz 2.1a/Fregat vehicle. Two additional MetOp satellites will be launched sequentially to ensure continuous operations over 14 years. Developed by EADS Astrium and based on a bus derived from those of ESA's Envisat and France's Spot 5 satellites, the first three MetOp satellites will carry a payload incorporating 12 complementary instruments. These will include a new generation of European instruments - provided by ESA, Eumetsat, and CNES, the French Space Agency - that offer improved remote sensing capabilities to both meteorologists and climatologists: the IASI spectrometer (on the right) and the MHS radiometer will provide highly accurate temperature and humidity measurements, the GOME-2 spectrometer will probe the atmosphere for profiles of ozone concentrations, the ASCAT scatterometer (three antennas, two of which are deployed in the foreground) will measure wind speed and wind direction, especially over the ocean, and the GRAS occultation payload will provide atmospheric profiles. In addition, the MetOp satellites will carry a set of "heritage" instruments provided by the United States: the AVHRR/3 radiometer for global imagery, two AMSU /A and one HIRS/4 radiometers, an advanced Argos data collection system, two Search & Rescue payloads and the SEM-2 spectrometer to monitor "space weather."

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