Finmeccanica technologies for more accurate weather forecasting
Continuous, long-term weather forecasts: this is the aim of the European satellite programme MetOp SG (Meteorological Operational Second Generation) launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in collaboration with EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites), in which Finmeccanica - Selex ES is also involved.
The company will supply to Airbus Defence and Space, prime contractor of the mission, an innovative high-performance, optical instrument which will be used within the climate and environmental monitoring programme. The instrument will be integrated on-board of the first three out of the six MetOp satellites, which will be made by Airbus Defense and Space.
Started in 2014, MetOp-SG is an iniziative for climate and environmental monitoring which has the scope of a more and accurate meteorological forecasting. The programme envisages the building of six satellites which will offer enhanced continuity of current MetOp series, today’s main source of global weather data. The first satellite is due for launch in 2021 and each of the two series of satellites will provide at least 21 years of operational service.
Designed and developed within the Finmeccanica – Selex ES centre of excellence for advanced electro optical technologies for space and land applications of Campi Bisenzio (Florence), the instrument, named 3MI (Multi-viewing, Multi-channel, Multi-polarisation Imager), is a passive visible and short-wave infrared radiometer which also measures polarisation.
The instrument will allow an innovative observation technique, providing an in-depth, remote study of the physical-chemical properties of the atmosphere and clouds, measuring the energy which is irradiated by the atmospheric surface in the surrounding space. Data from the 3MI instrument will also provide improved measurements of the air quality and will contribute to the enhancement of the present capabilities in long-term meteorological forecast.