Today, EUMETSAT’s Director-General, Alain Ratier, and Dr. Gerd Gruppe, Director of Space Administration at Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), signed a cooperation agreement for the development of the METimage instrument to be flown on three successive Metop-SG A satellites of the EUMETSAT Polar System Second Generation (EPS-SG) in the 2021-2042 timeframe.

The agreement ensures the inclusion of the visible infrared imaging radiometer, METimage, as part of the payload of the Metop-SG A1, A2 and A3 satellites. The METimage advanced radiometer will provide moderate-resolution optical imaging of clouds, aerosols, and surface variables, in 20 spectral channels, benefitting applications such as Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP), Nowcasting at high latitudes, Oceanography, Climate monitoring, Hydrology and land monitoring.

Under the agreement, DLR will develop the first METimage flight model and data processing algorithms, procure recurrent instruments on behalf of EUMETSAT and provide support to operations.  

EUMETSAT will fund 30% of the development costs for the METimage system and the full costs of recurrent instruments. Also, EUMETSAT will operate the METimage instruments as part of EPS SG throughout its entire lifetime and cover the related costs. 

EUMETSAT’s  Director-General, Alain Ratier said, “The EPS-SG system requires a suite of advanced imaging and sounding instruments to be, as EPS today, the most important source of satellite observations for numerical weather forecasts. This includes METimage and I am very pleased that we have now secured the development of this essential instrument with the signature of this agreement with DLR”.


The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 30 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and one Cooperating State (Serbia).

EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat -9, -10 and -11 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-7 over the Indian Ocean. Meteosat-8 is currently being relocated to 41.5°E for extended operations over the Indian Ocean. Dissemination of its image data will start on 4 October 2016.

EUMETSAT operates two Metop polar-orbiting satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

EUMETSAT is also a partner in the cooperative high precision ocean altimetry Jason missions involving Europe and the United States (Jason-2, Jason-3 and Jason-CS/Sentinel-6).

The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and climate change.

The European Union has entrusted EUMETSAT with exploiting the four Sentinel missions of the Copernicus space component dedicated to the monitoring of atmosphere, ocean and climate on its behalf.