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Satnews Daily
July 16th, 2015

Launch Buddies Again — EUMETSAT + Arianespace For MTG 3Gen

[SatNews] Immediately following the successful launch of MSG-4, EUMETSAT and Arianespace announce the signature of a contract that entrusts Arianespace with the first launch services for the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) series of geostationary satellites, which will consist of two firm launches for MTG-I1 and MTG-S1 plus one option for MTG-I2.

Using Ariane 5 ECA launchers from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, the launches are scheduled for the 2019-2023 timeframe.

The Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) program will expand into the 2020 to 2040 timeframe and massively improve the services currently delivered by the Meteosat Second Generation series in support of nowcasting and very short-range forecasting of high impact weather over Europe and Africa. MTG will be the most complex and innovative operational geostationary Earth observation system ever built, comprising two separate lines of imaging and sounding satellites exploited simultaneously.

EUMETSAT Director-General, Alain Ratier (left) and Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël (right) sign the new launch agreement.

The MTG satellites are being developed under the successful cooperation model between EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency (ESA), which is responsible for the development of satellites fulfilling user and system requirements defined by EUMETSAT and for the procurement of recurrent satellites on its behalf. EUMETSAT develops the ground systems required to control the satellites, acquire and process their data and deliver products and services to users and to respond to their evolving needs. It also procures all launch services and operates the full system for the benefit of users.

Executive Comments

The EUMETSAT Director-General, Alain Ratier, said, “MSG-4 was the tenth Meteosat satellite successfully launched by Ariane and it will be essential for the smooth transition to Meteosat Third Generation. Excellent launch services will be equally essential, and this contract reflects the trust of the 30 Member States of EUMETSAT in Arianespace for the delivery of the first three MTG satellites to orbit.”

Arianespace Chairman and CEO, Stéphane Israël, said, "The trust placed by EUMETSAT in our launch solutions is a great honor for Arianespace: with this new order, additional momentum is given to the long-term partnership established between EUMETSAT and Arianespace. Beyond our duty to provide European institutions with reliable and guaranteed access to space, contributing to such innovative program as MTG is a true source of pride. Many thanks to EUMETSAT for enabling Arianespace to be part of this endeavor, so beneficial to sustainable development on Earth."

Artistic rendition of EUTELSAT's third generation MSG satellite.

Image courtesy of EUMETSAT.