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The Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) consists of a series of four geostationary meteorological satellites, along with ground-based infrastructure, that will operate consecutively until 2020. The MSG satellites carry an impressive pair of instruments - the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI), which has the capacity to observe the Earth in 12 spectral channels and provide image data which is core to operational forecasting needs, and the Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget (GERB) instrument supporting climate studies.

For almost 30 years ESA has been building Europe's orbital weather satellites: the Meteosat series of geostationary spacecraft, the first of which was launched in 1977. The success of the early Meteosats led to the creation of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) in 1986.

ESA was responsible for designing and developing the first MSG satellite, and for procuring the other three on behalf of EUMETSAT. Meanwhile EUMETSAT has responsibility for defining the payload based on user needs, procuring the ground segment and launchers, and operating the system.

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Surviving the shaker brings better weather forecasting a step closer

02 July 2019

With the first in the next generation of Meteosat satellites due to be launched in a couple of years, an important milestone has been passed, further paving the way for better weather forecasts – something on which we all rely.

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Forty years of Meteosat

22 November 2017

ESA's first Earth observation satellite was launched on 23 November 1977. When the first Meteosat satellite took its place in the sky, it completed coverage of the whole globe from geostationary orbit and laid the foundations for European and world cooperation in meteorology that continues today.

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Facts and figures
Operators EUMETSAT
Date of Launch MSG-1/Meteosat-8: 28 August 2002
MSG-2/Meteosat-9: 21 December 2005
MSG-3/Meteosat-10: 05 July 2012
MSG-4: 15 July 2015

Meteosat-8: Operating nominally
Meteosat-9: Operating nominally
Meteosat-10: Operating nominally

Orbit Height 35,800 km
Orbit Type Geostationary
Repeat Cycle 15 minutes
  • SEVIRI: 1 km
Onboard Sensors
  • SEVIRI (Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager)
    • SEVIRI PFM aboard Meteosat-8
    • SEVIRI PFM2 aboard Meteosat-9
    • SEVIRI PFM3 aboard MSG-3
    • SEVIRI PFM4 aboard MSG-4
  • GERB (Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget)
  • MCP (Mission Communication Payload)
  • Search and Rescue Transponder