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MetOp-B takes over

Weather satellite begins prime operational service

The Airbus Defence and Space-developed MetOp-B meteorological satellite has taken over Eumetsat* prime operational service from MetOp-A, assuring long-term continuity of vital weather and climate data.

MetOpMetOp-B, launched on 17 September 2012, replaced its predecessor MetOp-A last week as Europe’s prime operational polar-orbiting satellite following the end of its commissioning period. MetOp-A, which was launched on 19 October 2006 and has already exceeded its nominal service-life, will remain in service for as long as it continues to bring benefits to users. Moreover, employing the two satellites side by side enables the accuracy of short range weather forecasts to be improved still further through the increased amount of measurements available when faced with rapidly forming natural phenomena such as cyclones.

[Extracts from Eumetsat press release] The MetOp satellites are Europe’s first operational meteorological satellites in polar orbit. They deliver data for Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) – the basis of modern weather forecasting – and climate and environmental monitoring. Observations from MetOp-A have significantly improved weather forecasts up to 10 days ahead. These forecasts are essential to protect life and limit damage to property, but they also benefit the weather-sensitive sectors of the European economy, especially energy, transportation, construction, agriculture and tourism.

MetOp-B began delivering first data within two weeks of its launch, allowing expert users to participate in the product calibration and validation activities. The satellite was declared operational on 29 January, bringing operational quality products from most instruments to the user community within three months of launch.

MetOp copyright Eumetsat

It is now the primary meteorological satellite for the delivery of real-time services to users. Its successor, MetOp-C, also designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space, is slated for launch in 2017.

*European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, operator of the MetOp satellites.

More about MetOp, the all-weather satellite