In previous blogs, it has been mentioned that once launched, Metop-C will fly in a “tri-star” constellation with its sibling spacecraft, Metop-A and –B.
However, it was not originally envisioned that two Metops, let alone three, would be operational at the same time.
The Metop spacecraft have a design lifetime of five years. Metop-A, launched in 2006, is still healthy and is expected to be able to remain operational for up to three more years.
Metop-B, launched in 2012, also remains healthy.
Although originally unforeseen, it is expected that having three satellites in orbit simultaneously for a period of several years will bring beneficial effects for meteorology and climate monitoring.
Significant preparation had to be undertaken to ensure that EUMETSAT’s systems – the ground segment, the ability to process and disseminate data and the team controlling the satellites – were ready for this challenge.
In this video, EUMETSAT Low Earth Orbit Spacecraft Operations Engineer Stefania Tarquini and Mission Control Systems Manager Gareth Williams talk about the preparations required on the ground to manage three satellites in orbit, including for the EUMETSAT teams responsible for operations in the post-launch phase.