MetOp Launches Today at 2:28 pm EDT


The BBC reports on Europe’s first polar-orbit satellite:

Europe is set to launch its most sophisticated weather and climate satellite to date.

The MetOp spacecraft will be lofted into its 850km-high polar orbit by a Soyuz-Fregat vehicle from Kazakhstan.

The platform should improve forecasting globally, and give scientists detailed data they can use to refine models describing how Earth’s systems work.

Metop has eight instruments to gather a range of data about the planet’s atmospheric and surface conditions….

Metop is a joint project of the European Space Agency (Esa) and Eumetsat, the intergovernmental organisation charged by European member states with operating a series of orbiting weather observatories….

The new platform weighs more than four tonnes and measures almost 18m (60ft) with its solar wing unfurled.

The Eumetsat website will feature a stream broadcasting the launch live. For more information on the satellite, visit the ESA Portal, or click here for a cool animated video explaining the satellite and its mission.