Next generation satellites improve weather forecasting

STFC RAL Space has successfully completed the delivery of 20 cutting-edge receivers for the MetOp-Second Generation (MetOp-SG) satellites.

This vital new technology is essential to the MetOp-SG programme as it enables the continuation and advancement of our understanding of Earth’s atmosphere, bettering our capabilities in weather forecasting.

The MetOp-SG programme

The MetOp-SG is a programme of six weather satellites due to be launched in three successive pairs between 2024 and 2039.

It is a collaborative programme between the European Space Agency and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.

The aim of the programme is to continue and advance meteorological observations from space to enhance weather forecasting accuracy, improve climate models, and contribute to the study of climate change.

Improved weather forecasting

Thanks in part to the receivers provided by Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) RAL Space, the MetOp-SG satellites will have a wider range of payloads providing increased observational capability with improved sensitivity.

The new receivers will deliver improved atmospheric and humidity data to meteorologists, results in more accurate weather forecasting, as well as better prediction and tracking of extreme weather phenomena.

World class facilities

The receivers use state-of-the-art Millimetre Wave Technology (MMT) developed by the MMT Group at STFC RAL Space.

STFC RAL Space has unique facilities for the design, manufacture and test of receiver components and systems.

For over 20 years, the contributions of the MMT Group have spanned across a wide range of ground, air, and spaceborne endeavours.

A triumphant journey

Graham Marshall, MetOp-SG Receiver Programme Manager at STFC RAL Space, says:

This achievement is a testament to the entire MetOp-SG team at STFC RAL Space.

From our technologists and engineers leading the early development of these receivers, to our incredibly tenacious assembly engineers working to the highest quality, colleagues in our Precision Development Facility precisely manufacturing each tiny component, and our Environmental Test team ensuring each instrument is fit for space, delivering these receivers has really been a huge team effort.

I’m extremely proud to have been a part of this team.

Dr Simon Rea, Lead Engineer on the programme at STFC RAL Space, adds:

Having worked on the MetOp-SG mission from the first feasibility study starting in 2007, I am delighted to have reached the milestone of the final flight receiver delivery to our customers in this phase of the programme.

I’d like to thank the entire team within RAL Space whose expertise and dedication have made this possible.

We are now collectively looking forward to the satellites becoming operational and the impact the data will have on weather forecasting and climate modelling.

Top image:  Credit: StockByM, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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