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MetOp: The power of three

31 October 2018

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MetOp-A was launched in 2006 and MetOp-B in 2012, and now it is time for MetOp-C. This latest polar-orbiting weather satellite will soon liftoff from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 01:47 CET on 7 November (21:47 on 6 November local time).

Launching sequentially ensures continuous observations of a host of atmospheric variables such as temperature, humidity, trace gases, ozone and wind speed over the ocean. These data are used largely for numerical weather prediction –the basis for weather forecasting. While it was envisaged that each successive satellite would take over from its predecessor, thanks to the extraordinary quality of these satellites, both MetOp-A and MetOp-B are still going strong. With MetOp-C, the mission continues as a three-satellite constellation, increasing the wealth of data for weather forecasting.

The MetOp programme is thanks to a collaborative undertaking between ESA and Eumetsat. The programme is also Europe's contribution to a cooperative venture with the US NOAA agency.

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