ESA Selects Thales and OHB for Third-Gen Meteosat Satellites

Thales Alenia Space has been chosen by the European Space Agency to enter into exclusive negotiations concerning the proposal for Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites, on behalf of Eumetsat, the European meteorological satellite organisation.

Thales Alenia Space France, as prime contractor, submitted a proposal in conjunction with German manufacturer OHB that satisfied all criteria set by ESA. It involves Thales Alenia Space's Cannes and Toulouse plants, along with OHB's plants in Bremen and Munich. This teaming arrangement enhances the value of investments by ESA and national governments in satellite platforms and instruments, by reusing the small GEO platform developed by ESA.

The Meteosat Third Generation programme comprises six satellites - four imaging satellites and two with atmospheric sounders. The imaging satellites will deliver one image every 10 minutes, and will operate in 16 bandwidths. The sounders will be used to determine temperature and humidity profiles in vertical atmospheric columns. MTG satellites also carry an ultraviolet sounder payload, developed within the scope of the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) programme to analyse the constituent gases in the atmosphere.

With its enhanced resolution, continuous observation and complementary imaging and sounder data, Meteosat Third Generation satellites will improve the accuracy in weather forecasts and models.

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