The operational deployment of MSG-1 at the beginning of 2004, the first of a series of four Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites, marks the start of a new era in Europe for the meteorological observations from the geostationary orbit. The new system shall be the backbone of the European operational meteorological services up to at least 2015. The time required for the definition and the development of new space systems as well as the approval process of such complex programs implies anyhow to plan well ahead for the future missions.
EUMETSAT have initiated in 2001, with ESA support, a User Consultation Process aiming at preparing for a future operational geostationary meteorological satellite system in the post-MSG era, named Meteosat Third Generation (MTG). The first phase of the User Consultation Process was devoted to the definition and consolidation of end user requirements and priorities in the field of Nowcasting and Very Short Term Weather Forecasting (NWC), Medium/Short Range global and regional Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP), Climate and Air Composition Monitoring and to the definition of the relevant observation techniques. The intermediate results of this first phase were presented to and discussed with the user community at the first Post-MSG User Consultation Workshop convened by EUMETSAT in November 2001 and further consolidated with the support of ESA in the area of potential observation techniques and sensor concepts via dedicated studies conducted in the 2003/2004 time frame. The following missions have been analysed and preliminary concepts studied:
-High Resolution Fast Imagery Mission (successor to MSG SEVIRI HRV mission)
-Full Disk High Spectral Resolution Imagery Mission (successor to the mission of other MSG-SEVIRI channels)
-Lightning Imagery Mission
-IR Sounding Mission
-UV-VIS-NIR-SWIR Sounding Mission
In March 2003, ESA and EUMETSAT derived technical requirements applicable to the MTG mission study where preliminary instrument concepts were investigated allowing in the same time to consolidate the technical requirements for the overall system study.
This paper provides an overview of the outcome of the MTG observation techniques and sensor concept studies conducted in 2003-2004. It namely focuses onto the Imaging and Sounding Missions, highlights the resulting instrument concepts and introduces the study steps towards the implementation of the MTG development programme.