An Arianespace Soyuz rocket is set to launch the MetOp-C satellite into space from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The launch will be conducted on behalf of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).

The first two satellites of the MetOp constellation, namely MetOp-A and MetOp-B, were respectively launched in 2006 and 2012.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has developed all the three MetOp satellites as part of a cooperation agreement with EUMETSAT for the space segment of the EUMETSAT Polar System.

“Teams from ESA, EUMETSAT, and Airbus Defence and Space and instruments suppliers have been working hard to get to this point.”

The satellites are designed to monitor various atmospheric variables, including temperature, humidity, trace gases, ozone, and wind speed, over the ocean.

These data are mainly used to provide weather prediction.

Following the launch and commissioning of MetOp-C, EUMETSAT will have three satellites in the same orbit at an equal distance of 120° and will be able to provide improved weather forecasting.

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ESA MetOp-C project manager Stéfane Carlier said: “MetOp is a large satellite carrying an array of instruments. Teams from ESA, EUMETSAT, and Airbus Defence and Space and instruments suppliers have been working hard to get to this point.

“We had to say goodbye when the satellite was sealed in the Soyuz fairing and rolled out to the launch pad.

“While it is mainly in the hands of Arianespace for launch, ESA will still be playing a role in its big day, particularly through our teams here in Kourou for the countdown and teams at our operations centre in Germany who are responsible for the mission’s first critical days in orbit.”

ESA is expected to transfer the ownership of MetOp-C to EUMETSAT once the satellite is launched.