Published on 12 November 2018
Mission teams at ESA’s ESOC operations centre in Germany handed control of the recently launched MetOp-C satellite to Eumetsat, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, on Saturday morning, just three days after launch.
In doing so, they also say a final farewell to the extremely successful MetOp-series of weather-probing satellites.
MetOp-C was launched into orbit on 7 November on top of a Soyuz rocket. Since then, teams at ESA’s mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, have been carefully introducing the satellite to its new home in space.
These early days are called the ‘Launch and Early Orbit Phase’ (LEOP), and they mark some of the most critical moments in a satellite’s young life.
Before routine operations can begin, teams had to confirm that all vital systems of MetOp-C were functioning, all mechanisms had been deployed and the correct orbit at an altitude of 800 km was achieved. Teams also worked to activate and configure spacecraft systems needed for routine and commissioning operations.
“Everything is as it should be, and the craft is in excellent shape,” explains Deputy Flight Operations Director Ian Harrison.
“MetOp-C is now out of the critical LEOP phase and is ready for commissioning, thanks to teams here who worked around the clock, ensuring we got to this moment.”