Bremen, April 24, 2019. OHB System AG, a subsidiary of the space and technology group OHB SE, has handed over the first flight model for the MTG (Meteosat Third Generation) weather satellite program to its French partner company Thales Alenia Space. In France, the satellite will be completed. The heavy goods transport carrying the flight model left the premises in Bremen in the late evening of April 23, 2019. After its launch, MTG will provide Europe with even more precise weather forecasts.
"The term MTG refers to the third generation of European weather satellites that will be positioned in geostationary orbit. From there the satellites record data and transmit it to the ground to generate the weather forecasts we know from newspapers and television," says Rüdiger Schönfeld, Director of the MTG program at OHB. With the program, the EUMETSAT (European Meteorological Satellite Organisation), which will operate the MTG satellites in orbit, aims to maintain and further develop Europe's leading capabilities in the field of weather forecasting. The development of the satellite systems is overseen by the European Space Agency ESA; the industrial consortium working on the program is led by Thales Alenia Space and OHB System AG as partners. OHB System AG is responsible for the development of all six satellite platforms and leads the development of the entire Sounder satellites.
Four of the MTG satellites, the so-called "Imagers", are designed to provide high-resolution images, whereas the "Sounders" will be equipped with novel high-resolution spectrometers that track the three-dimensional motion of water vapor and other gases in the atmosphere. "This will give us even more accurate and long-term weather forecasts," says Schönfeld.
"For OHB, this is a big step in the further development of our expertise. It is the first major order of optical satellites in geostationary orbit for meteorological applications. After two years of work, we have completed the first flight model and are very proud that it has now been delivered".
OHB site Oberpfaffenhofen supplies telescope for MTG
In addition to its activities at system level, OHB is also working on the instruments for MTG at its Oberpfaffenhofen location. OHB is responsible for the entire development of the Infrared Sounder, the spectrometer which is the main instrument of the two Sounder satellites. Moreover, OHB is developing the Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) telescope, which is the main instrument of the four Imager satellites. "Delivery of the FCI Telescope Assembly to Thales Alenia Space is scheduled for the end of July 2019," says Dr. Christoph Bartscher, Project Manager and MTG Instrument Program Manager in Oberpfaffenhofen.
The total of six MTG satellites are to be launched into space from 2021 onwards.