Bremen/Oberpfaffenhofen/Kourou, 14. December 2022. Deep breaths and fingers crossed were the order of the day last night as an Ariane 5 rocket with the "MTG-Imager 1" weather satellite lifted off from the spaceport in Kourou at 9.30 p.m. CET. People breathed a sigh of relief when the satellite sent its first signal from space. OHB System AG, a subsidiary of space technology group OHB, was pleased with the successful launch.
Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) is one of the most complex and innovative satellite systems ever built. It will provide improved data for weather forecasting from geostationary orbit for the next two decades. MTG is an excellent example of European technological excellence and is based on the long-standing partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), is leading the whole MTG industrial consortium and is prime contractor of the four MTG Imager satellites. OHB is responsible for all six satellite platforms of the overall MTG system and is also involved in the development of the payloads: the four units of the telescope assembly of the Flexible Combined Imager are being supplied by OHB System AG, as are the two IRS (Infrared Sounding) instruments of the two Sounder satellites. OHB is also the prime contractor for the upcoming MTG Sounder mission.
"It is always a moving moment when the first satellite is launched for a mission on which we have been working intensively for many years. With the launch of MTG-I1, a further step has now been taken in the set-up of the overall system. I am eagerly awaiting the moment when our first Sounder satellite will also enter service in space, as for us at OHB it is the centrepiece of the mission as we are prime contractor on this one", says OHB’s CEO Marco Fuchs.
There were many moving moments after the lift-off: shortly after the Ariane 5 released MTG-I1, the satellite powered up, began deploying its solar panels and pointed them towards the sun. This so-called breathing point is always a special moment for space engineers and their colleagues.
Anticipation also spread among the guests at the numerous launch events. As Rüdiger Schönfeld, Director of Earth Observation Systems at OHB, stated: "With our major contributions to the MTG-I satellite and the FCI instrument, we at OHB in Bremen and Oberpfaffenhofen are proving that we are ideally prepared to win and implement further follow-up orders for MTG instruments or satellites."