This is the second launch for the Meteosat Second Generation series of satellites operated by Arianespace and provided to Eumetsat by ESA. The second passenger onboard Ariane 5 will be the Insat4A multipurpose satellite (telecom, broadcasting and meteorology), owned by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). On separation from the launcher's upper stage, 36 minutes after lift-off, the first signal from the satellite should reach ESA's control centre, ESOC, at Darmstadt, which is in charge of the early phases in the life of the satellite for EUMETSAT. After it, EUMETSAT is to subsequently take over the commissioning and the routine operations.
The needs of users of meteorological data and images have changed since the introduction of satellite data for weather forecasting in 1977. Eumetsat, in cooperation with ESA, has therefore developed a second generation of satellite systems which substantially improves on the services offered by the existing Meteosat fleet.
Four satellites will provide continuous meteorological coverage until 2018. Since the launch of the first MSG satellite in 2002, meteorological images have been delivered every 15 minutes (instead of 30 with the first-generation Meteosat satellites) on 12 spectral channels (instead of 3) and provide vital data for a variety of applications in weather forecasting and the monitoring of climate and the environment. ESA, on behalf of EUMETSAT, will continue to act as procurement agent for all four spacecraft.
On the occasion of the MSG 2 launch, EUMETSAT and ESA will be jointly organising a launch event at Eumetsat Headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, from 18:00 to 00:30 CET. A live televised transmission of the launch provided by Arianespace will bring images to broadcasters and the general public, while ESA senior management and specialists will be on hand at EUMETSAT for explanations and interviews.
ESA will also be covering the event live on the web in a dedicated launch special. Here you will find updates, the launch diary, background info, images and videos, as well as streaming of the launch offered by Eumetsat.
Media representatives wishing to follow the event at EUMETSAT, or the rebroadcast transmission at the ESA establishments, are requested to fill in the attached registration form and fax it back to the place of their choice no later than 16 December.
Broadcasters wishing to access the live launch transmission are requested to contact the Arianespace Press Officer, Mario Delepine (firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +33 1 6087 6000) for provision of the signal at local ends at the BT Tower London or SERTE Paris.
The ESA TV Service will transmit pre-event footage on 19 December. For transmission details and a script, go to http://television.