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Soyuz October 30, 2018

Flight VS19: Arianespace at the service of EUMETSAT’s polar-orbiting weather satellite program

For its eighth launch of the year, and the second Soyuz liftoff from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana in 2018, Arianespace will orbit Metop-C for EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.

Metop-C is the third and final satellite of its Polar System (EPS), the Metop program dedicated to operational meteorology.

By launching the complete Metop fleet, Arianespace once again supports EUMETSAT and Europe in the improvement of global climate monitoring and weather forecasting.

Flight VS19 will be performed from the Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) in Sinnamary, French Guiana.

The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Friday, November 2, 2018 in Kourou to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.

Metop-C is the third and final satellite in the EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS). It is also the 13th EUMETSAT satellite to be launched by Arianespace, following the most recent mission with MSG-4 in July 2015.

The polar-orbiting Metop satellites are essential for numerical weather prediction from 12 hours to 10 days in advance. The still-operational Metop-A and –B satellites, launched from Baikonur in 2006 and 2012, by Starsem, make the single biggest contribution to the reduction in errors in weather forecasts one day in advance. Metop-C is therefore expected to enhance this.

Metop-C will be injected into a sun-synchronous “mid-morning” polar orbit which enables global observation of weather, atmospheric composition, oceans and land surfaces. Metop-C will have a five-year nominal life in orbit and will carry a payload of nine state-of-the-art instruments.

Metop-C will be the 20th meteorological satellite – as well as the 66th Earth observation satellite – launched by Arianespace.

Developed and built by Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor, Metop-C will be the 122nd satellite from this constructor to be orbited by Arianespace. 

For further information, download the Flight VS19 Launch Kit by clicking here:

To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary in French and English from the launch site), go to or to on November 6, 2018, beginning 20 minutes before liftoff.

About Arianespace 

Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 580 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.

Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 17 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.

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