replace the current satellite system in the 2020 timeframe and contribute to the Joint Polar System to be set up with
NOAA. Through consultation with users and application experts, requirements have been defined for a range of
candidate missions mainly in support of operational meteorology and climate monitoring. A number of on-board
instruments, satellite platforms and ground support infrastructure are under study in coordination with ESA, NOAA,
DLR and CNES. The satellites will fly in a sun synchronous, low earth orbit at 817 km altitude and 09:30 descending
equatorial crossing time, providing observations with global coverage every 12 to 24 hours depending on instrument.
The instruments exploit a range of techniques including multi spectral imaging, atmospheric sounding in the optical and
microwave spectral domains, radio occultation sounding, scatterometry and microwave imaging. The raw instrument
data will be broadcast directly by the satellites, as well as being stored on board for their transmission, in sets spanning
up to a full orbit, to polar ground stations. These data will be collected at EUMETSAT facilities and processed to obtain
calibrated and geo-located measurements, and records of well defined geophysical variables. The data will be distributed
to the users in near real time and archived together with the data of other EUMETSAT satellite systems, making
available long term records also suitable for climate monitoring. Feasibility studies for the space and ground systems will
be done until early 2012 with the main objective to select the baseline configuration for preliminary definition,
development and operation programmes to be proposed and coordinated within the involved organisations.