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Metop-B launch date set for 23 May

17 February 2012 European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)

Following a management meeting with Arianespace, the launch date of the Metop-B polar-orbiting satellite has been set for 23 May 2012.

On that date, after lift-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Metop-B satellite will be delivered by a Soyuz 2.1a launcher to an 817 km high, sun-synchronous orbit.

Metop-B will join Metop-A to continue the service provided since 15 May 2007 by Europe’s first polar-orbiting meteorological satellite for at least another five years. This service delivers critical input data to the Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models exploited by National Meteorological Services to produce forecasts up to 10 days and safety warnings at shorter range. Metop data are also essential for the nowcasting of high impact weather at higher latitudes, as well as for climate monitoring applications.

The Metop satellite series is the result of the successful cooperation model with ESA who develops the satellites according to EUMETSAT’s requirements and procures recurrent units on the latter’s behalf. All Metop satellites are manufactured by a European consortium led by EADS Astrium.