Ariane VA 224 on the launchpad. Credit: ESA-CNES-ARIANESPACE / Photo Optique Vidéo CSG
On 15 July, a powerful Ariane launcher will loft Europe’s final Meteosat Second Generation weather satellite into orbit from Kourou, French Guiana. For the mission control team at ESA, liftoff will mark the end of months of careful preparations and the start of the mission’s first critical phase.
In a 37-minute window starting at 21:42 GMT (23:42 CEST), Europe’s fourth and final Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite will ride into space on a 55 m-tall Ariane 5 rocket together with co-passenger Star One C4, a telecoms satellite for Embratel. The dual launch had previously been set for 8 July, but was delayed by Arianespace due to last-minute precautionary checks on the rocket and spacecraft.
A team from ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany, will assume control of MSG-4 immediately after separation and oversee its first 12 days in space – the critical launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) – before handing control over to Eumetsat.
During LEOP, two teams will work on shift in the Main Control Room 24 hours/day, using ESA’s global ground station network to conduct the well-rehearsed operations.
The first passenger, Star ...