Jenoptik is developing new generation of METimage cameras for weather satellites

Contract worth 5 million euros has been signed / The development order has been awarded by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) / METimage will play a central role in supplying images for weather forecasting and meteorol

Jena, (PresseBox) - Until mid 2010 Jenoptik will develop METimage - the new camera generation for weather satellites. The order volume is 5 million euros. In the development an innovative approach will be chosen by Jenoptik with support from the German Aerospace Center: the telescope rotates as it takes its readings, enabling it to capture an exceptionally large image from horizon to horizon. The innovative character and strong focus on practical use were the decisive factors for placing the order with Jenoptik. Back in 2003 Jenoptik's Defense & Civil Systems division developed and patent registered the proposed concept. Over recent years the project has been developed further with the support of the Deutscher Wetterdienst (Germany's National Meteorological Service), the Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Affairs and the German Aerospace Center.

METimage is to be used on the next generation of low-flying weather satellites, the Post-EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS). It will be far superior to the current system in terms of resolution and image width as it can photograph a strip nearly 3000 kilometers wide with a resolution of 500 meters and better. The instrument currently in orbit offers a resolution of 1100 meters. The marked improvement in the quality of the images will provide for six-day weather forecasts in advance, significantly longer than at present.

From the original black-white photo to multi-spectral scanner images

Satellite weather monitoring started with basic black-white photos of cloud formations which were then interpreted by meteorologists. Over the years multi-spectral methods were developed, delivering highly detailed information such as for example temperature profiles or characteristics of clouds. Today, weather satellites not only supply images but a whole range of information, delivering the input for computer-aided weather forecasting. In addition to radar measurements, the key role today is played by optical measurement equipment for weather monitoring.

The EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS) is the current European contribution towards the global system of meteorological weather satellites circulating the poles. Last year the decision was taken to begin development of the METimage instrument in Germany for the development of the successor system, known as Post EPS for short.

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