MetOp-B: it will help European surfers get good waves

The MetOp-B weather satellite will be launched in Kazakhstan, on the 23rd of May 2012, to provide essential data for weather forecasting and climate monitoring.

The sophisticated craft carries a host of sensitive instruments to provide key information on temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction over oceans, ozone and other atmospheric gases for numerical weather prediction and climate monitoring.

MetOp-B arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on 6 March after being transported from Toulouse, France on an Antonov cargo aircraft. The engine will be launched on a Soyuz rocket with a Fregat upper stage.

With MetOp-A still in service, the two satellites will orbit in tandem, increasing the wealth of data even further. The space weather forecasting tools were developed as a joint undertaking between ESA and Eumetsat.

Now that the satellite and support equipment has been unpacked and inspected to make sure that it wasn’t damaged in transit, it will spend the next weeks being thoroughly tested before being encapsulated in the rocket fairing.

The MetOp programme is Europe’s contribution to a cooperative venture with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The satellites are designed to work in conjunction with the NOAA satellite system, flying in complementary orbits to offer maximum coverage.

Frances Osorio Rivera is just another kiteboarder. The only noticeable difference is that she rides the winds of her favorite spots with one only one leg.

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