imageMeteosat-10 is the latest second generation weather satellite (MSG-3) in Europe’s highly successful Meteosat series launched from Ariane 5 spacecraft 5 July, 2012 from Europe’s Spaceport at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana.

Meteosat series of satellites are geostationary meteorological satellites operated by EUMETSAT under the Meteosat Transition Programme (MTP) and the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) program).

The first-generation Meteosat Operational Program was launched in 1995, and the second-generation started with the use of improved satellites in 2004. The recent July 2012 launch was the third second-generation satellite to be launched into orbit, with a fourth (MSG-4) tentatively scheduled for an early 2015 launch.

Meteosats are spin stabilised spacecraft, and their visible and infrared imagers build up pictures line by line, south to north One platform – currently Meteosat-8, which was launched in 2002 – makes an image of Europe (A) every five minutes Meteosat-9 (B), launched in 2005, scans the full Earth disc. One image every 15 minutes comes down to controllers. The satellites report the current status of the weather. Forecasters use this information as a check against modelled predictions And Meteosat-10 is the third in that particular series (MSG-3). As on the two antecedents, the primary instrument on the two-tonne Meteosat-10 is the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager, or Seviri. It builds its pictures of evolving meteorological systems, line by line, by spinning across the field of view. Data is acquired at 12 different wavelengths, tracing information such as cloud movement and changing temperature. It is now being manoeuvred into a position some 36,000km above the Earth from where it can keep a constant watch on developing weather systems. The spacecraft is the 10th Meteosat platform to go into service since 1977. The satellite’s orbital speed will be matched to that of the Earth’s rotation, giving the platform’s sensors a constant view of Europe and Africa.