[SatNews] EUMETSAT's MSG-4 satellite was launched on July 15 at 23:42 CEST aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and is en route to geostationary orbit.
The satellite is currently controlled by ESOC, which performs the Launch and Early Operations (LEOP) service under EUMETSAT contract. EUMETSAT’s own ground systems and operations teams are ready to take over control of the satellite from ESOC after the successful completion of the LEOP, around July 26, and to start the commissioning of the full MSG-4 system. This will involve all EUMETSAT ground systems used to control the spacecraft, receive and process their imagery and deliver quality-controlled products to users worldwide.
The capacity of the systems has been expanded to support a fourth MSG spacecraft in orbit and, after a successful test campaign, all systems and the EUMETSAT operations teams are ready to commission and operate MSG-4, in addition to Meteosat-8, -9 and -10, which are already in orbit.
During commissioning, EUMETSAT will conduct an extensive testing program to verify the end-to-end system performance. This will start with testing the spacecraft in orbit with the support of ESA, to confirm its full functionality after launch, including switching on the communications and imager payloads and taking the first image. This will be followed by trial dissemination of image data to a subset of expert users and the thorough validation of image data and extracted environmental products by EUMETSAT, based on the execution of a detailed system commissioning plan.
Upon the successful conclusion of the commissioning phase, MSG-4 will be declared operational, renamed Meteosat-11, and stored in orbit, where it will remain until needed to replace one of the older Meteosat satellites. The MSG series of geostationary satellites ensures the safety of lives, property and infrastructure through its critical value for the nowcasting of high impact weather.