The METimage concept
METimage is an advanced multispectral imaging radiometer for meteorological applications to be integrated in the EUMETSAT Polar System –Second Generation (EPS-SG) which is planned to be operational as of 2021.
METimage is a multi-purpose instrument, which will provide inter alia detailed information on clouds, cloud cover, land surface properties, and sea, ice, and land surface temperature, contributing important data for meteorological- and climate forecasting.
From an orbit height of 830 kilometers, METimage detects every 1.7 seconds images of a ground strip of 12 times 2670 kilometers. The high scanrate together with a large image width is facilitated by using a rotating mirror, which scans the earth surface in quick succession. During each rotation of the scan mirror measurement data from the image strip from earth, as well as data from the internal calibration sources is collected and processed. The internal calibration sources allow reference measurements which are used to significantly increase the image quality. Furthermore, in order to satisfy the demanding requirements on data accuracy, the use of state-of-the-art detectors and read-out electronics is foreseen. The infrared detectors will be operated at temperatures below -200°C. METimage provides a Ground Sampling Distance of 500 Meters. The division into 20 individual spectral channels in a spectral range from 443 nanometers to 13.345 micrometers is realized with use of beam splitters and optical filters. METimage circles the earth 14 times and generates 140 gigabytes of meteorological data each day.
The concept for METimage was developed and patented by Airbus Defence And Space GmbH and Jena-Optronik GmbH. The instrument development is currently in the development phase C.
The EUMETSAT Polar System
The EUMETSAT Polar System is Europe's contribution to the system of polar orbiting meteorological satellites that is being maintained jointly with the USA. Within the system, EUMETSAT is in charge of the so-called mid-morning orbit on which satellites cross the equator at 9:30h local time. In the frame of EPS-SG, METimage fulfills the requirements of the VII (Visual Infrared Imager) mission, which is considered high priority for the overall mission.
The space component of EPS-SG program will be implemented by the MetOp-SG satellites. The operational lifetime of EPS-SG is foreseen to be 21 years and will be realized with three identical satellite generations. The first MetOp-SG satellite will be launched by 2021 to ensure the continuous availability of meteorological data.
On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), DLR Space Administration will conclude a cooperation agreement with EUMETSAT, covering the development and procurement of three METimage instrument flight models for EPS-SG.
With its innovative and demanding technology, METimage will contribute valuably to the improvement of climate and weather forecasting.