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Meteosat 2



Meteosat 2 was a geostationary spacecraft which served as part of the European Space Agency's (ESA) contribution to the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP). As part of GARP, the satellite helped to supply data required for global data sets used in improvement of machine weather forecasts. In general, the spacecraft design, instrumentation, and operation were similar to SMS/GOES. The spin-stabilized spacecraft carried (1) a visible-IR radiometer that provided high-quality day/night cloudcover data and that took radiance temperatures of the earth/atmosphere system; (2) a meteorological data collection system that disseminated image data to user stations, collected data from various earth-based platforms, and relayed data from polar-orbiting satellites; and (3) an AFGL electron spectrometer to investigate the link between surface charging and the spacecraft anomalies seen on Meteosat 1. The cylindrically shaped spacecraft measured 210 cm in diameter and 430 cm in length, including the apogee boost motor. The primary structural members were an equipment platform and a central tube. The radiometer telescope was mounted on the equipment platform and viewed the earth through a special aperture in the side of the spacecraft. A support structure extended radially out from the central tube and was affixed to the solar panels, which formed the outer walls of the spacecraft and provided the primary source of electrical power. Located in the annulus-shaped space between the central tube and the solar panels were stationkeeping and dynamics control equipment and batteries. Proper spacecraft attitude and spin rate (approximately 100 rpm) were maintained by jet thrusters mounted on the spacecraft and activated by ground command. The spacecraft used both UHF-band and S-band frequencies in its telemetry and command subsystems. A low-power VHF transponder provided telemetry and command during launch and then served as a backup for the primary subsystem after the spacecraft had attained synchronous orbit. Meteosat 2 was maintained on station between 1 deg E and 1 deg W.

Alternate Names

  • 12544
  • Meteorological Sat-B
  • Meteosat-B
  • Meteosat2

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1981-06-19
Launch Vehicle: Ariane
Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana
Mass: 625.8 kg

Funding Agency

  • EUMETSAT (International)


  • Space Physics
  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. J. AastedProject ManagerEuropean Space Agency - Toulouse
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