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  • Satellite Evolution

EUMETSAT and Arianespace confirm launch of two Meteosat Third Generation satellites with Ariane 6

Today, at the occasion of the World Meteorological Day, EUMETSAT and Arianespace signed an update of their Launch Services Agreement for two Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites. Through this updated agreement, Arianespace is confirmed by EUMETSAT to launch the sounder satellite MTG-S1 and the imager satellite MTG-I2 with Ariane 6, the next generation of Ariane family of launchers.

This updated agreement follows EUMETSAT’s signature, during December 2020, of the “joint statement on the institutional exploitation of Ariane 6 and Vega C” in favor of a European preference for launchers on institutional missions in Europe.

Stéphane Israël, the Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, declared: “I am delighted by this updated agreement that highlights the trust EUMETSAT puts in our launch services solutions. These two future launches are new milestones in our long lasting partnership that begun in 1981 and that has seen Arianespace safely place into orbit 13 satellites operated by EUMETSAT. We have five satellites in our orderbook to deliver to Eumetsat, which show how crucial is our relationship. We are proud to be supporting the success of the European meteorological operator’s mission that is benefitting to millions of people.”

“The timely delivery of the Meteosat Third Generation system is an absolute priority for EUMETSAT and we are happy to continue to rely on the expertise of Arianespace to place our satellites in orbits,” explain Phil Evans, Director-General of EUMETSAT. “Once in place, orbiting 36,000 km above Earth, the MTG fleet is expected to greatly improve the accuracy of weather predictions. The imager on MTG-I, in particular, will enable nowcasting of extreme weather events, such as storms, with such precision that we expect it to literally save lives.”

The launch planning will see MTG-S1 satellite be placed into orbit in the first half of 2024, while the MTG-I2 would be planned for the second half of 2025 onwards. In both cases, the satellites will be reaching Geostationary Earth Orbit, a destination made reachable by high-standard capacities of Ariane 6.

Both organizations also confirmed that Arianespace will place into orbit the MTG-I1 satellite with an Ariane 5 launcher by the end of 2022. The launch orderbook includes two more state-of-the-art meteorological polar satellites (METOP-SG A1 and METOP-SG B1) as well as one additional launch, still in option.

The signature ceremony – which was held remotely to comply with the sanitary restrictions – reaffirms Arianespace’s mission to provide European institutions with secure and autonomous access to space. By supporting the interests of EUMETSAT, Arianespace demonstrates its will and ability to contribute to the sustainable development of our planet.


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