Ariane 5 launch: double success for Airbus Defence and Space

16 July 2015

Ariane 5 has been successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana, for the 66th time in a row, placing in orbit the fourth Meteosat Second Generation (MSG-4) satellite, over 50% of which was built by Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company. The company’s most outstanding contribution to MSG-4 is the SEVIRI instrument, considered as the most capable weather instrument in geostationary orbit. Thales Alenia Space is prime contractor for all the Meteosat satellites since the start.

The SEVIRI (Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager) instrument is an imaging radiometer that was designed and developed by Airbus Defence and Space. The instrument observes weather phenomena in the visible and infrared spectra across a third of the Earth’s surface. This is the fourth SEVIRI instrument built for MSG and the 11th radiometer designed and developed by Airbus Defence and Space for the Meteosat constellation, the first instruments of which operated in space for up to 19 years. Since the first model began operating in orbit in 2004, SEVIRI has become a global benchmark in the design of the next generation of radiometers. It is the most reliable weather instrument currently in geostationary orbit.

MSG-4 will allow EUMETSAT, the European organisation for the exploitation of meteorological satellites, to guarantee continuity of the MSG service for more than 10 years.

The satellite is the last of the Meteosat Second Generation satellites resulting from the successful cooperation between EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency (ESA).

The main application of the Meteosat service from geostationary orbit is very short-range forecasting of high impact weather. The service also delivers unique inputs to weather prediction models, complementing the primary inputs delivered by the polar-orbiting MetOp satellites, which are also built by Airbus Defence and Space.


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