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Meteosat-7 starts drift towards 57.5 degrees East

July 11, 2006: Meteosat-7 takes on new responsibilities over the Indian Ocean, replacing the long-serving Meteosat-5. Meteosat-7’s relocation ensures the continuation of the Indian Ocean Data Coverage (IODC) service until the end of 2008, providing critical data in a region subject to natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis. Meteosat-7 will also take over the Data Collection Platform (DCP) Acquisition Service from Meteosat-5, which has been making data available to the international community for a tsunami warning system for the region since the beginning of 2005. Both satellites will operate in parallel during December, disseminating data via EUMETCast’s Ku-band service.

In order to relocate the satellite, its orbit has to change. By moving it away from a geostationary orbit, the satellite will start drifting either east or west, depending on whether the orbit is lower or higher than the geostationary one. The manoeuvring of Meteosat is carried out by firing thrusters; small motors placed on the side of the satellite, angled in different directions to allow thrust to be applied in the required direction.

While Meteosat-7 is being drifted to its new position, it will continue sending back images of the earth, partly for satellite cross-calibration reasons. The imagery will be rectified every 10 degrees to a different sub-satellite point. The satellite will be following the Equator, passing over Africa, with regions previously not covered by Meteosat-7, such as India, Siberia, China and parts of South-East Asia, gradually coming into view. From its final position at 57.5°E Meteosat-7 will have view of large parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, along with the coverage of the Indian Ocean.