Metop-B weather satellite is ready for launch
Metop-B, the European polar orbiting weather satellite designed and manufactured by Astrium, is now ready to launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Metop-B is the second in a series of three weather satellites that the European Space Agency (ESA) and EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, have commissioned from Astrium.
The satellites are being launched at intervals of five to six years (Metop-A was launched in 2006 and Metop-C is scheduled to join them in orbit at the end of 2017, thus ensuring that data will continue to be supplied until a new generation becomes available. Weighing 4,100 kg, Metop-B has been designed to operate in orbit for five years.
From its polar orbit 817 kilometres above Earth, Metop-B will provide a broad range of measurements vital to weather forecasting and climate monitoring. The many components and instruments manufactured for Metop-B by Astrium at its sites in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom include the ASCAT radar, which will measure the speed and direction of ocean winds, and the Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS), which will measure atmospheric humidity.