The Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) programme, issued to acquire weather data from Space, is comprised of six satellites: four MTG-1 for imaging and two MTG-S sounding satellites.

The first prototypes MTG-I and MTG-S are being developed. The imaging satellites will be able to produce an image every ten minutes and will operate in 16 bandwidths. They will be used to determine the temperature and humidity profiles in a vertical section of the atmosphere and will be equipped with an additional ultraviolet ray sounding tool, within the European programme GMES (Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security), in order to analyse the essential atmosphere gases.

Thanks to an enhanced spatial resolution, continuous observation and imaging/sounding data complementarity, the Meteosat Third Generation satellites will considerably improve the quality and reliability of weather modeling and forecasts. More than 50 experts in different disciplines have been involved as representatives of research organisations and companies from Europe, the United States and other international partners, as well as the World Meteorological Organization.

Finmeccanica participates in the programme through the joint ventures Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space and the Airborne & Space Systems Division.

photo credits ESA

Thales Alenia Space

As prime contractor, in partnership with the German company OHB, Thales Alenia Space leads a consortium of industrial partners to develop the Instrument Data Processing Facility.

Thales Alenia Space has been building the Meteosat satellites for more than 30 years, since the birth of the geostationary meteorological forecasting systems in Europe. The company has developed, over the last 30 years, the widest range of techniques and skills necessary for space weather forecasting.


Telespazio participates in the development of the MTG programme by developing the ground segment, both for the data acquisition and for the satellites command and control. In addition, Telespazio will provide Eumetsat with the launch and put into orbit services for two satellites (with an option for a third) of the new MTG constellation.

Airborne & Space Systems Division

Leonardo, through the Airborne & Space Systems Division, provides the Lighting Imager instrument designed to detect lightning with continuous monitoring of Europe, Africa and parts of South America, in all light conditions,-from a 36,000 km distance from the hemisphere . The data acquired will be used for short-term weather forecasting and to determine the influence of climate change in the atmosphere. The Division also participates in the programme with the attitude sensors A-STR and the PhotoVoltaic Assembly power generators (PVA).