Ibadan, 29 December 2022. – The Meteosat Third Generation – Imager 1 (MTG-I1) satellite has reached its intended orbit, nearly 36,000km above the Equator, after its 13 December launch from Kourou, French Guiana. As a result, EUMETSAT has taken control of its newest addition to its fleet of meteorological satellites.
After its release from the launcher, an Ariane-5 rocket, MTG-I1 entered the critical launch and early operations phase (LEOP), which Telespazio conducted on behalf of EUMETSAT from the Fucino Space Center in Italy. During the LEOP, which lasted nearly 15 days, a series of critical operations successfully deployed the satellite’s solar arrays, maneuvered it into geostationary orbit, and deployed its communications antennas from their stowed launch positions.
According to EUMETSAT’s Director of Operations and Services to Users, Seán Burns, the LEOP confirmed the correct functioning of MTG-I1’s core systems to generate its power, change its orbit, and reliably communicate with the ground. As a result, EUMETSAT has control of a healthy satellite and will begin an intense 12-month commissioning phase. During the commissioning phase, EUMETSAT will activate and calibrate the satellite’s payload instruments while validating the instrument data’s processing.
After commissioning, MTG-I1 will move to its final position over Europe, after which EUMETSAT will declare it operational. The Agency will subsequently begin disseminating MTG-I1’s crucial data that will “transform the forecasting of severe weather events in Europe and beyond.”
By the current schedule, MTG-I1 will become fully operational towards the end of 2023. Consequently, it will be the first of EUMETSAT’s highly advanced and innovative third generation of Meteosat geostationary satellites to serve European users into the 2040s.
“Meteosat Third Generation is EUMETSAT’s most complex and innovative meteorological satellite system so far,” EUMETSAT Director of Program Preparation and Development Cristian Bank said. “The MTG constellation of two imagers and one sounder satellite will allow meteorologists, for the first time, to track from space the complete life cycle of convective storms – from initial instability in the atmosphere to lightning strikes.