Europe unveils high-tech satellite to speed up extreme weather warnings

Europe on September 7 unveiled the first of a family of satellites designed to give earlier warning of extreme weather conditions that have wreaked havoc across the world this year.

The result of 12 years of development for the European Space Agency and EUMETSAT, the MTG-I1 satellite will be launched by the end of this year on an Ariane 5 rocket and will allow a sharper look at space above the planet. Europe and Africa.

The 3.8-ton spacecraft valued at 4 billion euros will transmit images from next year and will be joined in geostationary orbit by three other MTG-I imaging satellites and two MTG-“probe” satellites. S capable of slicing through the atmosphere, much like a medical scanner, by 2030.

Precious hours saved

The hope is that forecasters will save valuable hours predicting short-term storms and floods that can claim lives.

And scanning the atmosphere will provide a better picture of current conditions to feed into their computer models.

There is a real challenge today… to be able to calculate the initial (weather) state”said Hervé Roquet, deputy director of research at Météo France.

The initiative highlights a race to tackle weather disruption exacerbated by global warming and estimated to cost the world 100 billion euros in 2021 alone.

While the MTG-I imaging satellites will align Europe roughly with GOES-R operated by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, MTG-S will deploy sounders in space for the first time.

European officials say China has experimented with the technology with less precision but has yet to deploy it, while acknowledging that Beijing’s space program is growing rapidly.

Latest checks in progress

Engineers say the probing or scanning technique will catch storms before they become visible on traditional radar.

As the storm develops, we can see it. She picks it up and then we can predict her“said Paul Blythe, MTG program manager at the European Space Agency.

On September 6, engineers from a seaside cleanroom complex run by Franco-Italian Thales Alenia Space in Cannes swarmed around the small truck-shaped satellite to carry out final checks before its solar panel be installed in the next few days.

Their protective cleanroom gowns bore logos reflecting the European system under which companies share work based on national investment, with Thales Alenia Space leading the project in partnership with Germany’s OHB and Italy’s Leonardo.

The more responsive and capable these satellites are, the better they can track extremely dynamic weather events.“, said Cristian Bank, Director of Development at EUMETSAT.

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