A Russian Soyuz-2.1a rocket carrying a European weather satellite was delivered on Friday morning to a launch pad at the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan in preparation for launch on September 17, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said.
“The rocket with Fregat booster and Metor-B satellite has been set on the launch pad 31,” Roscosmos said on its website.
Metop-B is the second in a series of three European polar orbiting weather satellites, designed and manufactured by Astrium to provide a broad range of measurements vital to weather forecasting and climate monitoring.
Its predecessor, Metor-A, was orbited in October 2006. The last satellite in the series, Metor-C, is expected to be launched in 2017.
Weighing 4,100 kg, Metop-B has been designed to operate in orbit for five years.
Each Metop satellite carries a set of instruments provided by the United States and a new generation of European instruments that offer improved remote sensing capabilities to both meteorologists and climatologists.
They alone possess the capability to provide a continual flow of weather and climate data spanning the whole planet, according to the European Space Agency.