Earth Observation Mission News
EUMETSAT’s MetOp-A satellite makes her 50,000th orbit
10 June 2016
Early Wednesday morning (02:30 GMT), the Metop-A meteorological satellite crossed the equator to begin its 50,000th orbit since its launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, in 2006.
Metop-A is operated by EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, from its headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.
The data provided by Metop satellites are essential for weather forecasts up to 12 days ahead, as well as for climate and environmental monitoring.
Metop-A flies in a near-circular, sun-synchronised polar orbit approximately 817km above the Earth's surface, moving along at nearly 27,000km/h.
EUMETSAT Mission Control Systems Manager Gareth Williams said that, even though Metop spacecraft are designed to have a minimum lifetime of five years, Metop-A will celebrate its 10th birthday in space this October.
Image credit: EUMETSAT - Artist's impression of a EUMETSAT Metop satellite in flight