Kazakhstan, 27 June 2006: MetOp-A has successfully completed the first phase of testing at the Baikonur Space Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, confirming the launch date of the first European polar-orbiting satellite dedicated to operational meteorology for 17 July 2006. MetOp-A – jointly established by ESA and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) – promises to provide data on a host of different variables such as temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction, ozone and other trace gases.
Since the arrival of the MetOp-A satellite at its launch site in Baikonur on 18 April 2006, the Service Module, Payload Module and Solar Array, which were shipped as individual items, have been integrated and tested. This global observing system is able to provide invaluable meteorological data from polar orbit to users within 2 hours and 15 minutes of the measurements being taken.
The MetOp programme, which consists of three satellites to be flown sequentially to ensure the delivery of continuous data until at least 2020, forms the space segment of the EPS programme and represents the European contribution to a new cooperative venture with the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
MetOp-A is equipped with a set of new-generation European instruments that offer advanced remote sensing capabilities to both meteorologists and climatologists along with a set of ‘heritage’ instruments provided by NOAA and the French Space Agency (CNES).