Metop Second Generation A1 and B1 (Metop-SGA1 and Metop-SGB1) are the first pair of a total of six satellites in the EUMETSAT Polar System – Second Generation (EPS-SG) system. These first two satellites are undergoing testing and integration of their instruments. The anticipation is that they will be launched into their LEO polar orbit at about 835 km altitude in the 2025-2026 timeframe.
The EPS-SG system, with its multi-billion euro investment, will significantly improve weather predictions and serve as the primary data source for complex computer modeling used for advanced weather forecasting from 12 hours to 10 days ahead. The new and next-generation instruments on the satellites will provide more accurate weather and climate data for Europe until at least the mid-2040s. Studies indicate an estimated socio-economic return of 20:1 on the member states’ investment through these improved weather predictions.
The second-generation Metop satellites will enhance weather forecasting with more and higher resolution data. Together with the third generation of geostationary Meteosat satellites, they will enable a new era of weather forecasting in Europe. The benefits of this space infrastructure will be felt by the citizens of member states through more accurate and timely weather forecasts, which can help save lives and livelihoods. The satellites will also provide data for monitoring wildfires, volcanic ash plumes, maritime safety, drought prediction, and monitoring the ozone layer.
The EPS-SG system is part of the European-United States’ Joint Polar System, where data from EUMETSAT’s and NOAA’s polar-orbiting satellites are shared to enhance weather forecasting and climate monitoring on both sides. The development of the Metop-SG satellites is a result of cooperation between EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency (ESA). The requirements for the satellites are defined by EUMETSAT through consultation with scientists and users of their data, with procurement and development done by ESA. EUMETSAT has also developed sophisticated ground systems to operate and handle the vast amount of data produced by the satellites.