Observation de la terre

Follow ESA's Earth observation missions as they are prepared for liftoff
  1. The third MetOp satellite, MetOp-C, has been launched on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana to continue the provision of data for weather forecasting from polar orbit. Carrying the 4083 kg MetOp-C satellite, the Soyuz rocket lifted off on 7 November at 00:47 GMT (01:47 CET). Some 60 minutes later Soyuz’s upper stage delivered MetOp-C into orbit and contact was established through the Yatharagga ground station in Australia. MetOp-C is the last in the current series of MetOp satellites, following on from MetOp-A, which was launched in 2006, and MetOp-B, which was launched in 2012.
  2. With liftoff set for 7 November, the latest MetOp weather satellite has been rolled out to the launch pad and positioned on the Soyuz rocket for its ride into space from French Guiana. MetOp-C is the last in the current series of MetOp satellites, following on from MetOp-A and MetOp-B, which were launched in 2006 and 2012, respectively. Launching the satellites sequentially ensures continuous observations of a host of atmospheric variables such as temperature, humidity, trace gases, ozone, and wind speed over the ocean. These data are used mainly for numerical weather prediction – the basis for weather forecasting. Recent studies show that MetOp-A and MetOp-B have already reduced errors in one-day forecasts by as much as 27%. While it was envisaged that each successive satellite would take over from its predecessor, their extraordinary quality means that MetOp-A and MetOp-B are still going strong. Once MetOp-C has been launched and commissioned for service, EUMETSAT will have three satellites in the same orbit, equally spaced by 120°. This will benefit weather forecasting even more. MetOp-C will liftoff on 7 November at 00:47 GMT (01:47 CET), 6 November 21:47 local time.
  3. With the launch of MetOp-C set for 7 November, specialists from ESA, Eumetsat, CNES and NASA have re-grouped at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, to prepare this latest weather satellite for its big day. Liftoff was originally planned for 20 September, but this had to be pushed to November because of seasonal winds. MetOp-C is the third polar-orbiting satellite in the Meteorological Operational satellite programme. The satellites carry a host of sensitive instruments to measure a wide range of variables such as temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction over oceans, ozone and other atmospheric gases. The first two satellites, MetOp-A and MetOp-B were launched in 2006 and 2012, respectively. Now that the MetOp-C launch campaign has resumed, engineers have been carefully preparing the satellite to be fuelled. This has also involved moving the satellite from the ‘Payload Processing’ building to the ‘Hazardous Processing’ building where it will be fuelled next week. As the building name suggests, the task of fuelling a satellite is hazardous and therefore carried out by fuelling experts. Once fuelled, the satellite will be handed over to Arianespace for the ‘combined operations’ phase. This includes joining the satellite to the launch adapter and to the Soyuz rocket’s fourth stage, encapsulation in the rocket fairing and transfer to the launch pad. Liftoff is set for 7 November 01:47 (CET), 6 November 21:47 (local time). Read more: MetOp
  4. A look back at preparations for the 22 August liftoff of ESA’s Aeolus wind satellite from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.  
  5. ESA’s Earth Explorer Aeolus satellite has been launched into polar orbit on a Vega rocket. Using revolutionary laser technology, Aeolus will measure winds around the globe and play a key role in our quest to better understand the workings of our atmosphere. Importantly, this novel mission will also improve weather forecasting. Carrying the 1360 kg Aeolus satellite, the Vega rocket lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 21:20 GMT (23:20 CEST, 18:20 local time) on 22 August. Some 55 minutes later, Vega’s upper stage delivered Aeolus into orbit and contact was established through the Troll ground station in Antarctica at 00:30 CEST on 23 August. Named after Aeolus, who in Greek mythology was appointed ‘keeper of the winds’ by the Gods, this novel mission is the fifth in the family of ESA’s Earth Explorers, which address the most urgent Earth-science questions of our time. “Aeolus epitomises the essence of an Earth Explorer. It will fill a gap in our knowledge of how the planet functions and demonstrate how cutting-edge technology can be used in space,” said Jan Wörner, ESA Director General. ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Josef Aschbacher, added, “Aeolus carries the first instrument of its kind and uses a completely new approach to measuring the wind from space. Such pioneering technology has meant that it has been a demanding mission to develop, but thanks to all the teams involved we are thrilled that this extraordinary satellite is now in orbit. “We look forward to it living up to expectations!” Highlighted by the World Meteorological Organization, the lack of direct global wind measurements is one of the major deficits in the Global Observing System. By filling this gap, Aeolus will give scientists the information they need to understand how wind, pressure, temperature and humidity are interlinked. […]