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GES DISC DAAC Data Guide: Meteorological Satellite Platform Document

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Explanation: The Dataset or Sensor Guide Document you are accessing is no longer actively maintained. The Dataset Guide Documents were created for earlier versions of the NASA EOSDIS system. The content of these documents, particularly with regard to characteristics of the data or technical descriptions of a sensor, is likely still accurate. However, information such as contact names, phone numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses, software programs, system requirements, and data access procedures may no longer be accurate. We therefore recommend searching for updated information from other sites to insure that reliable and current information is obtained.


The European Space Agency developed the Meteorological Satellite (Meteosat) as its contribution to the Global Atmospheric Research Program's World Weather Watch observing network. The satellite began as a French project named Meteosat and the name was retained when the European Space Agency took over the project. The Meteosat spacecraft are similar in design and capability to the NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES). The primary instrument aboard the spin-scan stabilized spacecraft is a five channel visible infrared imaging radiometer. When used in conjuction with satellites from the NOAA GOES program and the Japanese Geostationary Meteorological Satellite (GMS), Meteosat provides 24 hour global coverage for the region from approximately 60 degrees North to 60 degrees South.

Table of Contents:

1. Source/Platform or Data Collection Environment Overview:

Source/Platform or Data Collection Environment Long Name, Source/Platform Acronym:

Meteorological Satellite, Meteosat

Source/Platform Introduction:

Collection Environment:


Source/Platform Program Management:

The Meteosat satellites are financed and owned by Eumetsat, an international organization of 17 European weather services. The European Space Agency (ESA) is responsible for developing and launching the spacecraft, and until the end of 1995, also operates the satellites on the behalf of Eumetsat.

Source/Platform Mission Objectives:

Meteosat was developed as the European Space Agency's contribution to the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) to provide global data sets used in improving weather forecasting.

Source/Platform Parameters:

Meteosat-1 was launched in 1977 and the launch of the five other satellites in the Meteosat program followed in 1981, 1988, 1991 and 1993. Three Meteosat are currently opeational. The launch of the seventh Meteosat is scheduled for 1996/1997 time frame. Meteosats are 705 pound cylinders that are seven feet in diameter and ten feet high with solar cells on six main body panels. The Meteosats are in stationary orbit approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth. Meteosat-1, Meteosat-2 and Meteosat-3 were positioned near 140 degrees East.

Coverage Information:

Meteosat produces images of the full Earth disc as viewed from it's geostationary orbit. The satellite coverage extends from approximately 60 degrees West to 60 degrees East. A set of three images, one in each spectral band, is produces every 30 minutes.

Attitude Characteristics:

The following information is take from Rao, et. al, 1990.

The performance characteristics of the attitude and orbit control system are provided below.

	Parameters Value Spin Rate 100 rpm +/- 1%
	Spin Rate Control Possibility of adjustment better than +/- 0.1 rpm Nutation			<  5 arc seconds after damping Longitude station keeping	+/- 1 degree
	Inclination (north-south)	< 0.8 degree Eccentricity			<0.002 Maximum amount of hydrazine	29 kg at the beginning of life

Data Collection System:

The communications package aboard a Meteosat consists of a transponder and its antenna subsystem. This communications package transmits data every half hour to the ground facilities located at the European Satellite Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. The communications package also receives processed images from the ESOC which are then relayed to user stations in over 16 countries.

Communication Links:

Data is transmitted from the platform to the ESOC via the communications package aboard a Meteosat. The transponder component of the communications package operates at 1675-2015 MHz.

List of Sensors/Instruments:

The primary instrument aboard the Meteosat satellites was the five-channel visible infrared (IR) imaging radiometer.

2. Ground Segment Information:

Tracking and Control:

This information is not available at this time.

Data Acquisition and Processing:

The ground facilities which carry out the Meteosat missions consist of four elements. The activities at each of these elements is discussed below.

The Meteosat Operations Control Center is reponsible for the operational management of the satellite and tracking facilities.

The Data Referencing and Conditioning Center is reponsible for processing and formatting the image data.

The Meteorological Information Extraction Center extracts specific meteorological parameters, such as radiation balances or sea surface temperature charts.

The Data Acquisition Telecommand and Tracking Station is responsible for acquiring radiometric data from the satellites as well as messages from the data collection platforms. This station also works with a land-based transponder at Kourou, French Guiana, to perform ranging measurements used to locate the satellite precisely.

Latitude Crossing Times:

This information is not applicable to this platform.

3. References:

Rao, P.K., S.J. Holmes, R.K. Anderson, J.S. Winston, and P.E. Lehr: 1990: Weather Satellites: Systems, Data, and Environmental Applications, American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA, 503 pp.

A.R. Curtis, 1994: Space Satellite Handbook, Gulf Publishing, Houston, TX, 346 pp.

4. Glossary of Terms:

See the EOSDIS Glossary for a more general listing of terms related to the Earth Observing System project.

5. List of Acronyms:

See the EOSDIS Acronyms for a more general listing of terms related to the Earth Observing System project.


European Satellite Operations Center


Global Atmospheric Research Program


Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite


Geostationary Meteorological Satellite


Meteorological Satellite


Uniform Resource Locator

6. Document Information:

Document Revision Date:Fri May 10 11:53:02 EDT 2002
July 31, 1996

Document Review Date:

July 31, 1996

Document ID:

This information is not available at this time.

Change History

Version 2.0
Version baselined on addition to the GES Controlled Documents List, July 31, 1996.
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Last updated: Dec 28, 2009 12:43 PM ET