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Russia Readies to Launch European Satellite

RIA Novosti

17:19 14/09/2012

MOSCOW, September 14 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Soyuz-2.1a rocket carrying a European weather satellite was delivered on Friday morning to a launch pad at the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan in preparation for launch on September 17, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said.

“The rocket with Fregat booster and Metor-B satellite has been set on the launch pad 31,” Roscosmos said on its website.

Metop-B is the second in a series of three European polar orbiting weather satellites, designed and manufactured by Astrium to provide a broad range of measurements vital to weather forecasting and climate monitoring.

Its predecessor, Metor-A, was orbited in October 2006. The last satellite in the series, Metor-C, is expected to be launched in 2017.

Weighing 4,100 kg, Metop-B has been designed to operate in orbit for five years.

Each Metop satellite carries a set of instruments provided by the United States and a new generation of European instruments that offer improved remote sensing capabilities to both meteorologists and climatologists.

They alone possess the capability to provide a continual flow of weather and climate data spanning the whole planet, according to the European Space Agency.

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