Soyuz Rocket launches the MetOp-C In Orbit European Meteorological Satellite

The latest Earth observation satellite in Europe extended today in orbit (November 6) on a mission to improve weather forecasts and control changing climates across the globe.

MetOp-C, the third and last satellite of the European operational satellite program MetOp, extracted from the Guyana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 7:47 p.m. EST (0047 GMT on November 7), on a European Soyuz rocket provided by Arianespace's private launch company.

This was the third successful release of Soyuz rockets since the October 11 failure of the launch of a crew to the International Space Station in a Russian version of the Soyuz rocket. This failed launch suffered a strengthening separation problem that triggered an automatic abortion during the flight, separating its Soyuz rocket crew capsule. The parachute capsule safely back to Earth. His crew, the astronaut of NASA Nick Hague and the Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, were unharmed. [Launch Photos! Europe’s MetOp-C Soars Into Orbit on Soyuz Rocket]

Print of an artist from the Metop-C satellite in orbit
Credit: ESA

Approximately one hour after the takeoff, the upper stage of the rocket's rocket will hope to deploy MetOp-C in an almost polar or synchronized sun orbit to approximately 547 miles (881 miles) above the Earth. In this type of orbit, the satellite is constantly exposed to sunlight while circulating between the north and south poles of the Earth. [In Photos: Europe’s MetOp-C Weather Satellite Launches on Soyuz Rocket]

Its path is maintained in the light of the day of the Earth's thermor or the line between night and day, so that "the satellite over the Earth is always at the same local time, in this case mid-morning", the European Space Agency Officials of ESA said in a description of the mission. The three MetOp satellites have been manufactured by ESA and operated by the European Organization for the Exploration of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).

A rocket Arianespace Soyuz moves away from the Guyana Space Center in Kourou, in French Guiana, to deliver the MetOp-C European meteorological satellite in orbit on November 6, 2018.
Credit: Arianespace

The orbit of MetOp-C complements the orbits of other meteorological satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States (NOAA). Like MetOp-A and MetOp-B, MetOp-C will join forces with the NOAA meteorological satellite fleet through an international association between NOAA and EUMETSAT.

"To provide improved coverage and a greater frequency of review in middle latitudes, Metop satellites fly in the middle of the middle, while the NOAA JPSS sat in the afternoon's complementary orbit," Arianespace officials said in a statement.

While three MetOp satellites encompass the "mid-morning" side of the globe, the NOAA satellites keep their eye on the afternoon.
Credit: UCAR / COMET Program

The common NOAA satellite system (JPSS) currently includes the Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 satellite (also known as JPSS-1). The agency plans to launch three more JPSS satellites in 2031 and EUMETSAT is already working on its second-generation MetOp satellite fleet, called MetOp-SG, to begin launching in 2022.

The $ 550 million MetOp-C satellite has a 5-year operating life, after which it will be replaced by second-generation satellites. Its MetOp-A and MetOp-B predecessors, launched in 2006 and 2012, have lasted beyond their expected 5 year lifetime and are still operational today. The three satellites should start in a period of 5 years, so each new satellite replaces the latter, but thanks to its resistance and some delays in launching, the three will be operating at the same time.

MetOp-C contains nine different scientific instruments that allow you to measure things such as temperature, wind speed, humidity and ozone in the atmosphere. An instrument measures charged particles in the terrestrial radiation belts.

"These data are used primarily for numerical weather forecasts – based on weather forecasts. Recent studies show that MetOp-A and MetOp-B have already reduced errors in one-day forecasts by up to 27 percent," said ESA officials statement

"Metop satellites in polar orbit are essential for the numerical prediction of time from 12 hours up to 10 days in advance," officials of Arianespace said. "Metop-A and -B … satellites are still the only major contribution to reducing mistakes in weather forecasts a day earlier. Therefore, Metop-C will hope to improve this."

Send us an email to Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow them @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @ Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Original article on Space.com.

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