Darmstadt/Paris, 16 July 2012 - Today at 14:00 local time, following the successful launch of the satellite on 5 July aboard an Ariane 5 from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, and after 11 days of LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) by ESA's Centre, ESOC, EUMETSAT took control of the MSG-3 operations.
During the last 11 days, the satellite was moved into geostationary orbit, the various components which make up the satellite's platform were activated and their functionality checked. This included a number of critical manoeuvres like the firing of the apogee motors, the change of spacecraft orientation and the unlocking of the SEVIRI scan mirror.
After the successful handover, EUMETSAT can now begin commissioning the satellite and its sensors. Commissioning consists of a two-month phase for satellite check-out and assessment, followed by a four-month phase for imaging and product testing, including calibration and validation activities.
The release of the first image generated by the SEVIRI imager on board MSG-3 on 6 August will be an important milestone.
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About Meteosat Second Generation
MSG is a joint programme undertaken by ESA and EUMETSAT. ESA is responsible for the development of satellites fulfilling user and system requirements defined by EUMETSAT and of the procurement of recurrent satellites on its behalf. ESA also performs the Launch and Early Orbit Phase operations required to place the spacecraft in geostationary orbit, before handing it over to EUMETSAT for exploitation.
EUMETSAT develops all ground systems required to deliver products and services to users and to respond to their evolving needs, procures launch services and operates the full system for the benefit of users.
MSG-3 is the third in a series of four satellites introduced in 2002. These spin-stabilised satellites carry the primary Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager, or SEVIRI.
SEVIRI focuses on Europe and Africa to deliver enhanced weather coverage, in order to improve local forecasts, in particular for rapidly developing storms. It scans Earth's surface and atmosphere every 15 minutes in 12 different wavelengths, to track cloud development and measure temperatures.
SEVIRI can pick out features as small as a kilometre across in the visible bands, and three kilometres in the infrared.
In addition to its weather-watching mission and collection of climate records, MSG-3 has two secondary payloads.
The Global Earth Radiation Budget sensor will measure the amount of solar energy that is radiated back into space to determine how much energy is introduced into the climate system and to provide insights into the atmospheric circulation between the day and night sides.
A Search & Rescue transponder will turn the satellite into a relay for distress signals from emergency beacons.
The MSG satellites were built in Cannes, France, by a European industrial team led by Thales Alenia Space, France. More than 50 subcontractors from 13 European countries are involved.
The last of the series, MSG-4, is planned for launch in 2015.
About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe's gateway to space.
ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA has 19 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxem-bourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 17 are Member States of the EU. ESA has Cooperation Agreements with nine other Member States of the EU and is negotiating an Agreement with the one remaining (Bulgaria). Poland is in the process of becoming ESA's 20th Member State. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.
By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.
For further information, please contact:
ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99
Fax: +33 1 53 69 76 90
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 26 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and five Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, and Serbia).
EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8 and -9 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-7 over the Indian Ocean.
Metop-A, the first European polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, was launched in October 2006 and has been delivering operational data since 15 May 2007.
The Jason-2 ocean altimetry satellite, launched on 20 June 2008, added monitoring of sea state, ocean currents and sea level change to the missions EUMETSATEumetsat conducts.
The data and products from EUMETSAT's satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and the global climate.
Tel: +49 6151 807 7320
Fax: +49 6151 807 7321