On July 26, 2015, the European Space Agency (ESA) handed control of Europe’s last Meteosat Second Generation weather satellite, MSG-4, to the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).
This follows the launch of the satellite on July 15, 2015, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, and the launch and early orbit phase carried out by ESA’s European Space Operations Centre on EUMETSAT’s behalf.
During this timespan, the satellite was moved into geostationary orbit, and the various elements of its platform were activated and checked. This included a number of critical manoeuvres such as firing the apogee thrusters, changing the satellite’s orientation and the unlocking of the SEVIRI (Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager) scan mirror.
Following handover, EUMETSAT will begin commissioning the satellite and its sensors. Commissioning consists of two months of satellite checkout and assessment, followed by four months of imaging and product testing, including calibration and validation. After commissioning, MSG-4 will be stored in orbit.