ESA and EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, agreed today that ESA will provide essential launch control services for the last two Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites, MSG-3 and MSG-4.
Under the agreement, ESA will provide control services during the critical launch and early orbit phase (LEOP), which involves moving the satellite from its initial position after separation from the launcher to its final orbit position 36,000 kilometres above the Earth.
Services will be provided from ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Darmstadt, Germany, the central establishment for the Agency's spacecraft operations activities.
The new agreement was signed today by the Director General of EUMETSAT, Dr Lars Prahm, and ESA's Director of Operations and Infrastructure, Gaele Winters. The contract, valued at over 4 million, also includes set up of related LEOP ground segment infrastructure at ESOC.
The contract awarded today to ESA's space operations centre reflects the excellent long-term relationship between us and EUMETSAT. ESA will provide first-class service for the critical early phase in the lives of Europe's meteorological satellites based on 40 years of expertise," said Gaele Winters.
Dr Prahm stated that, "I am very happy to be signing this contract for the MSG-3 and 4 Launches and Early Orbit Phase following the very successful LEOP services provided by ESOC for MSG-1 and MSG-2."
ESOC: Europe's centre of operations excellence
ESOC flight control teams currently operate ten missions comprising 13 spacecraft, with ten more in active preparation.
ESOC has established a reputation as a centre of excellence for LEOP expertise, and has been awarded contracts by EUMETSAT for similar MSG launch services in the past.
MSG-3 and MSG-4 are scheduled for launch in January 2011 and January 2013, respectively.
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European Space Agency