Launched in October 2006 (Metop-A), September 2012 (Metop-B) and November 2018, they are the first European polar-orbiting satellites dedicated to operational meteorology. The Metop satellites carry onboard a set of state-of-the-art sounding and imaging instruments that offer improved remote sensing capabilities to both meteorologists and climatologists. The Metop series is part of the Initial Joint Polar-Orbiting Operational Satellite System (IJPS) constellation, along with the NOAA-18 and NOAA-19 satellites.
The first satellite in the Metop series, Metop-A, was deorbited in November 2021. The satellite massively exceeded its expected lifetime of five years.
- Orbit: sun-synchronous polar orbit, morning orbit 09:30 local time descending node)
- Inclination: 98.7° to the Equator
- Altitude: 800 - 850 km
- Total mass: 4086 kg
- Dimensions: height 17.6 m, length 6.7 m, width 5.4 m (in-orbit configuration)
- Average power consumption per orbit: 1812 W