MetOp


MetOp
MetOp-A
MetOp model
Organization: EUMETSAT
Mission type: Earth Science
Satellite of: Earth
Launch: October 19, 2006 at 16:28:00 UTC
Launch vehicle: Soyuz ST Fregat
Mission duration: October 25, 2006 - planned 5 years
Mass: 4093 kg
Payload Mass: 812 kg
Webpage: European Space Agency
Orbital elements
Dimensions: 6.2 × 3.4 × 3.4 metres (under the launcher fairing) 17.6 × 6.5 × 5.2 metres (deployed in orbit)
Orbit: Sun-synchronous orbit
Inclination: 98.7° to the Equator
Orbital period: 101 minutes

MetOp is a series of polar orbiting meteorological satellites operated by the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. The satellites are all part af the EUMETSAT Polar System. It is intended to replace the soon to be retired TIROS network. The satellites, the first of which was launched on October 19, 2006, are equipped with the same equipment as the TIROS satellites, plus extra atmospheric measuring instruments.

Contents

Background

The Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS) series of polar-orbiting satellites was launched in 1960. Operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), TIROS proved extremely successful, providing accurate and detailed satellite imagery which helped provide accurate weather forecasts based on the data gathered from space. Since then, the United States have been providing meteorological data from this evolving series of polar satellites free of charge. However, in the early 1990s, NOAA unfolded plans to discontinue the monitoring service (the current TIROS K, L and M series) of the Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). Europe consequently decided to balance the long-standing service provided by the United States with what was finally to become MetOp.

It has been developed as a joint undertaking between the European Space Agency (ESA) and European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). MetOp is part of the European contribution to a co-operative venture with the NOAA through the Initial Joint Polar Satellite System (IJPS).

Launch and deployment

MetOp-A, the first ever European polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, was successfully launched on 19 October 2006 from Baikonur_Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan using a Soyuz-ST Fregat launcher, after six attempts. At just over 4,000 kg and measuring 17.6 × 6.5 × 5.2 m when in orbit, MetOp is Europe's second largest Earth-observation satellite, after ENVISAT which was launched in 2002.[1]

The first signal from the satellite was received at 1835 BST on 20 October 2006, and it was confirmed that the satellite was in its nominally correct orbit with the solar panel deployed. Control of the satellite was with the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC — part of ESA) which had the responsibility of achieving the final positioning of the satellite, deployment of all the antennas and final reconfiguration of the satellite following necessary orbit control maneuvers. The satellite was handed over to EUMETSAT operations on 22 October 2006. The first image was received at 0800 UTC on 25 October[2]—a visible light image of Scandinavia and Eastern Europe—but there was a six-month period of verification and calibration of the satellite and its instrument payload before it was declared operational. Before that point, the Met Office received data and started to test and then use it as input to the operational numerical weather prediction runs.

MetOp-A was declared fully operational in mid-May 2007 and the full data of its 11 scientific instruments are available to its users on operational basis [3]

Instruments

The following instruments are flown onboard the MetOp-A satellite:

  • IASI - Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer
  • MHS - Microwave Humidity Sounder
  • GRAS - Global Navigation Satellite System Receiver for Atmospheric Sounding
  • ASCAT - Advanced Scatterometer
  • GOME-2 - Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2
  • AMSU-A1/AMSU-A2 - Advanced Microwave Sounding Units
  • HIRS/4 - High-resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder
  • AVHRR/3 - Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer
  • A-DCS - Advanced Data Collection System
  • SEM-2 - Space Environment Monitor
  • SARP-3 - Search And Rescue Processor
  • SARR - Search And Rescue Repeater


GOME-2

The first atmospheric contributions by MetOp-A were made by the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2 (GOME-2), a scanning spectrometer on board the satellite. GOME-2, developed by DLR (the German Aerospace Centre) as the successor of ERS-2's GOME (1995), provided coverage of most areas of planet Earth measuring the atmospheric ozone, the distribution of surface ultraviolet radiation, and the amount of nitrogen dioxide (NO2).[4] The GOME-2 instrument provides a second source of ozone observations that supplement data from the SBUV/2 ozone instruments on the NOAA-18 and NOAA-19 satellites, which are part of the IJPS.[5]

Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI)

One of the most important instruments carried onboard MetOp is IASI, the most accurate infrared sounding interferometer currently in orbit. IASI observes the atmosphere in the infra-red (3.7 - 15.5 µm) in 8461 channels, allowing to measure the atmosphere temperature within 1°C and relative humidity within 10% for each slice of 1 km height. Earth surface is revisited twice a day. IASI by itself produces half of all MetOp data.

Future plans

It is planned that subsequent MetOp satellites will be launched at approximately five year intervals, maintaining the service until at least 2020. The second in the series, MetOp-B, is due to be launched in mid 2012 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. MetOp-C, the third satellite is to be launched in the 2016/2017 timeframe, from the Guiana Space Centre.

References

  1. ^ ESA fact page
  2. ^ First Satellite Image received by Dundee University Satellite receiving station
  3. ^ Spaceflight, a publication of the British Interplanetary Society, Volume 49, Number 7, July 2007, page 245, ISSN 0038-6340.
  4. ^ Spaceflight, a publication of the British Interplanetary Society, Volume 49, Number 5, May 2007, page 166.
  5. ^ "NOAA-N Prime". NP-2008-10-056-GSFC. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. 16 December 2008. http://www.osd.noaa.gov/POES/NOAA-N_Prime_Booklet_12-16-08.pdf. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 

External links


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