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METOP-A is a European (ESA/EUMETSAT), polar-orbiting weather satellite that was launched by a Soyuz-Fregat rocket (sometimes called Soyuz 2) from Baikonur at 16:28 UT on 19 October 2006. The 4.1 tonne, 17 m x 6.5 m x 5.2 m craft carries 10 instruments. The IASI spectrometer will provide temperature and humidity profiles. The GOME 2 spectrometer will probe the atmosphere for ozone and trace gases. The ASCAT scatterometer will measure the wind speed and direction over the ocean. The GRAS payload will provide atmospheric density profile by means of occulted GPS signals. The MHS instrument will provide microwave-measured humidity profiles.

In addition, there are five heritage instruments provided by NOAA: The AVHRR radiometer for global imagery, the AMSU-A microwave "sounder", the HIRS infrared "sounder", an advanced ARGOS data collection system, and the SEM-2 particle spectrometer to monitor the energetic particles. The "sounders" are horizon-scanning passive instruments that enable inference of vertical profiles.

Operationally, there will be close collaboration between NOAA, ESA, and EUTEMSAT. For more details of METOP-A, see which provides links to several web sites.

Alternate Names

  • 29499
  • Soyuz 2

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2006-10-19
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 2
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), Kazakhstan

Funding Agencies

  • European Space Agency (International)
  • EUMETSAT (International)


  • Earth Science

Additional Information

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

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