Paris, France: European Space Agency (ESA) revealed its plans for 2012. It includes Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system, which would see the launch of the second two In-Orbit Validation satellites in August/September 2012. With the first four satellites of the constellation and their ground network, the agency will be able to validate the overall Galileo concept.
On July 16, the agency scheduled the launch of multi-satellite Swarm mission. It will provide the best survey of Earth’s magnetic field and its temporal evolution and improve ESA’s knowledge of Earth’s interior and climate. The Swarm concept consists of a constellation of three satellites in three different polar orbits between 400 km and 550 km altitude. High-precision and high-resolution measurements of the strength and direction of the magnetic field will be provided by each satellite.
During June 15 – July 15, 2012, a joint ESA-Eumetsat launch event will be held at Eumetsat’s premises in Darmstadt, Germany with supporting events at ESA premises. Meteosat Second Generation-3 satellites have been developed and built by ESA and are exploited by Eumetsat. They are designed to fulfil user requirements for improved weather prediction. MSG-3 will continue the successful series of operational meteorological satellites that started with Meteosat-1 in 1977. The first second-generation (MSG-1) satellite with its improved capabilities was launched in 2004, followed by MSG-2 in December 2005.
In addition, in May 2012, the agency scheduled the launch of MetOp-B meteorology mission. MetOp-B has been developed and built by ESA in a joint effort with Eumetsat. MetOp-B will follow MetOp-A, launched in October 2006. The MetOp satellites are a series of polar-orbiting meteorological satellites operated by Eumetsat. They complement the US polar-orbiting weather satellite network operated by NOAA. MetOp-B carries 11 instruments to improve numerical weather prediction and to contribute long-term climate data.