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by Staff Writers
Paris, France (ESA) Jul 20, 2012
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.
Meteosat Second Generation
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 and 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.
EUMETSAT at ESA
Weather News at TerraDaily.com
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