EUMETSAT Council approves EPS-SG Preparatory Programme and extends Indian Ocean service
The Council successfully concluded the approval process for the EUMETSAT Polar System Second Generation (EPS-SG) Preparatory Programme with all 26 Member States having now firmly committed themselves.
The Council also approved the extension of the Meteosat Transition Programme (MTP) to continue to deliver the operational Indian Ocean Data Coverage (IODC) service, which is provided by the Meteosat-7 weather satellite, for a period of three years from 2014 to 2016, before the programme is closed out in 2017. At this time Meteosat-7, the last remaining first generation Meteosat, will have to be de-orbited and deactivated. The IODC service began on 1 July 1998.
EPS Second Generation is the second pillar of the future of EUMETSAT, expected to continue the global observations provided by the current EPS system in the 2020-2040 timeframe, and to enhance the critical inputs delivered to Numerical Weather Prediction models.
The Metop-SG satellites forming the space segment of the EPS-SG system will be developed and procured by ESA on behalf of EUMETSAT. Therefore, the programme's approval process requires coordinated decisions which started on the EUMETSAT side with Council decisions on the required instruments and approval of an EPS-SG Preparatory Programme. A decision on the Metop-SG programme, covering development of the prototype satellites, is expected from the ESA Member States during the ESA Ministerial Council taking place on 20 and 21 November.
About the IODC
Meteosat-7 provides image data - from its position at 57.50E over the Indian Ocean - that is used to monitor tropical cyclones and dust storms and to extract wind products used by global forecast models. In addition, the onboard Data Collection System, which collects and relays environmental data gathered from data collection platforms to users, is an important element of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System.
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 26 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and five Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, and Serbia).
EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8 and -9 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-7 over the Indian Ocean. The third Meteosat Second Generation satellite, MSG-3, was launched on 5 July 2012 and will be renamed Meteosat-10 after commissioning is complete.
Metop-A, the first European polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, was launched in October 2006 and has been delivering operational data since 15 May 2007. It will be replaced by Metop-B, which was launched on 17 September 2012.
The Jason-2 ocean altimetry satellite, launched on 20 June 2008, added monitoring of sea state, ocean currents and sea level change to the missions EUMETSAT conducts.
The data and products from EUMETSAT's satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and the global climate.