The European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) is an inter-governmental operational organization that was formed in 1986 and created through an international convention agreed by a current total of 30 European Member States. Member countries have full access to data and services and are represented in the supreme decision-making body of the organization, the Council. The company is headquartered in Darmstadt in Germany.

EUMETSAT is not part of the EU, but became a signatory to the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters in 2012, providing the global charitable use of its space assets. Their main objective is to establish, maintain and exploit European systems of operational meteorological satellites. The company’s activities contribute to a global meteorological satellite observing system coordinated with other spacefaring countries.

EUMETSAT has been monitoring the weather and climate from space since the late 70’s, using the Meteosat (GEO) and MetOp (LEO) weather satellites for weather forecasting and climate monitoring.

The company is also operating the Copernicus Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6 satellites and will also operate and deliver products from the Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5 instruments onboard Meteosat Gen3 and MetOp Gen2 satellites, respectively.

The Jason-series of LEO satellites are providing global sea surface height observations for climate monitoring and ocean and seasonal forecasts. The Jason-3 satellite is the result of an international partnership between EUMETSAT, CNES from France, NOAA and NASA from USA and the European Union, which funds European contributions to Jason-3 operations as part of its Copernicus program. The satellite was launched on January 17th, 2018 on a Falcon 9 rocket operated by SpaceX.

EUMETSAT has established cooperation with operators of Earth observation satellites from Europe and China, India, Japan, South Korea and the USA. The cooperation with Russia was suspended in March 2022 due to Russia’s invasion in the Ukraine.

Meteosat (GEO) weather satellites

EUMETSAT Meteosatweather satellites have been providing data for climate monitoring over Europe and Africa since 1978, building up in the process one of the longest time-series of climate data collected by satellites in the world.

The first Meteosat-1 satellite was launched in November 1977 on a Delta rocket operated by Boeing from the USA. In the following years ESA launched seven more Meteosat satellites that are all inactive. The company currently operates four active GEO weather satellites, Meteosat-9, -10, -11 and -12.

The Meteosat satellites are in geostationary orbit 36,000km above the Earth. They provide imagery for the early detection of fast-developing severe weather (nowcasting), weather forecasting and climate monitoring.

MetOp (LEO) atmosphere monitoring satellites

EUMETSAT is operating the MetOp (Meteorological Operational Program of Europesatellites that are in operation since 2006. These LEO satellites carry eight main instruments that provide more detailed global data to monitor the atmosphere, oceans and land surfaces as well as the cryosphere.

The MetOp satellites are closer to the Earth in polar orbit (81km above the Earth) providing detailed global observations of the atmosphere, oceans and land. These data are essential for weather forecasting up to 10 days ahead and climate monitoring.

EUMETSAT processes these satellite observations to develop climate data records, which are time series of satellite measurements of sufficient length and consistency to determine climate variability and change. The climate monitoring activities are centralized in Darmstadt in Germany and made available to its Member States, the Copernicus Climate Change Service, and users worldwide, including the global scientific community.

In addition, ocean monitoring satellites such as the Jason-series ((Joint Altimetry Satellite Oceanography Network) and Copernicus Sentinel-6 monitor global mean sea level rise due to climate change, while the Sentinel-3 satellites collect other essential ocean observations in cooperation with ESA.

Sentinel Earth monitoring satellites and instruments

EUMETSAT operates, in corporation with ESA, the Copernicus Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6 satellites as well as operating and delivering products from the Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5 instruments onboard Meteosat Gen3 and MetOp Gen2 satellites, respectively.

The Copernicus Sentinel-6 provides global sea surface height observations for climate monitoring and ocean and seasonal forecasts continuing a time series of mean sea level rise dating back to 1992. The altimetry instruments also provide measurements of wind speed at the ocean surface and significant wave height.

Other instruments on board the satellite collect high resolution vertical profiles of temperature, using the GNSS Radio Occultation sounding technique, to assess temperature changes in the troposphere and stratosphere and to support Numerical Weather Prediction.

The mission is co-funded by the European Commission, ESA, EUMETSAT and the USA, through NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

EUMETSAT also operates the Sentinel-4 instrument, on board MTG satellite and will monitor air quality over Europe every hour at high spatial resolution. The Sentinel-5 instrument on board MetOp-SG is monitoring global air quality and climate-related trace gases and aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Jason LEO Earth and climate monitoring satellites

The Jason-series of satellites are providing global sea surface height observations for climate monitoring and ocean and seasonal forecasts. The company currently operates the Jason-3 satellite that helps improve global atmosphere and ocean forecasting. The satellite was launched on January 17th, 2016 by SpaceX and is operational since October 2016.

Jason-3 was constructed by Thales Alenia Space and built on the same cooperation as Jason-2, involving EUMETSAT, NOAA, CNES and NASA, with Copernicus expected to support the European contribution to operations.

Active Satellites

SatelliteMissionLaunch DateLauncherLaunch Operator
Jason-3Jason 3Jan 17th, 2017Falcon 9SpaceX USA
MetOp-BST25Sep 17th, 2012Soyuz-2Arianespace KAZ
MetOp-CVS19Nov 7th, 2018Soyuz ST-BArianespace FG
Meteosat-9 (MSG-2)V169Dec 22nd, 2005Ariane VArianespace FG
Meteosat-10 (MSG-3)VA207July 05th, 2012Ariane VArianespace FG
Meteosat-11 (MSG-4)VA224July 15th, 2015Ariane VArianespace FG
Meteosat-12 (MSG-I1)VA259Dec 13rd, 2022Ariane VArianespace FG
Sentinel 1AVS07Apr 3rd, 2014Soyuz ST-BArianespace FG
Sentinel 2AVV05Jun 22nd, 2015VegaArianespace FG
Sentinel 3ASentinel 3AFeb 16th, 2016Rockot KMEurockot GER/RUS
Sentinel 1BVS14Apr 25th, 2016Soyuz ST-BArianespace FG
Sentinel 2BVV09Mar 6th, 2017VegaArianespace FG
Sentinel 5PSentinel 5POct 13th, 2017Rockot KMEurockot GER/RUS
Sentinel 3BSentinel 3BApr 25th, 2018Rockot KMEurockot GER/RUS
Sentinel 6AMF (Jason-CS-A)Nov 21st, 2020Falcon 9SpaceX USA

Future Satellites

SatelliteMissionLaunch DateLauncherLaunch Operator
MetOp-SG A12024Ariane-62Arianespace FG
MetOp-SG B12025Ariane-62Arianespace FG
MetOp-SG A22031Ariane-62Arianespace FG
MetOp-SG B12032Ariane-62Arianespace FG
MetOp-SG A32038Ariane-62Arianespace FG
MetOp-SG B12039Ariane-62Arianespace FG
MTG-S1 (Meteosat-13, Sentinel-4A)2024Ariane-64Arianespace FG
MTG-I2 (Meteosat-14)2025Ariane-64Arianespace FG
MTG-I3 (Meteasat-15)2032Ariane-64Arianespace FG
MTG-S2 (Meteosat-16, Sentinel-4B)2024Ariane-64Arianespace FG
MTG-I4 (Meteosat-17)2035Ariane-64Arianespace FG
Sentinel 3C2024Vega 2Arianespace FG
Sentinel 3D2025Vega 2Arianespace FG
Sentinel 6B (Jason-CS-B)2025Falcon 9SpaceX USA
Sentinel 7A (CO2M-1)2025Vega 2Arianespace FG
Sentinel 7B (CO2M-2)2026Vega 2Arianespace FG
Sentinel 8 (LSTM)2029
Sentinel 9 (CRISTAL)2027
Sentinel 10 (CHIME)2029
Sentinel 11A (CIMR-1)2028
Sentinel 11B (CIMR-2)2028
Sentinel 12 (ROSE-L)?

Retired Satellites

SatelliteMissionLaunch DateLauncherLaunch Operator
Jason-1Jason/TIMEDDec 7th, 2001Delta II 7920Boeing/ULA USA
Jason-2OSTM/Jason-2Jun 20th, 2008Delta II 7320Boeing/ULA USA
MetOp-AVS04Oct 6th, 2006Soyuz-STArianespace KAZ
Meteosat-1Nov 23rd, 1977Delta 2914Boeing/ULA USA
Meteosat-2Meteosat/CAT/AppleJune 10th, 1981Ariane IArianespace FG
Meteosat-3PAS 1/MeteosatJune 15th, 1988Ariane 44LPArianespace FG
Meteosat-4 (MOP-1)JCSat-1/MOP-1Apr 19th, 1989Ariane 44LPArianespace FG
Meteosat-5 (MOP-2)Astra-1/MOP-2Mar 2nd, 1991Ariane 44LPArianespace FG
Meteosat-6 (MOP-3)Meteosat 6Nov 20th, 1993Ariane 44LPArianespace FG
Meteosat-7 (MTP)Meteosat 7Sep 3rd, 1997Ariane 44LPArianespace FG
Meteosat-8 (MSG-1)V155Aug 28th, 2002Ariane VArianespace FG

MOP = Meteosat Operational Program
MSG = Meteosat Second Generation
MTG = Meteosat Third Generation
MetOp = Meteorological Operational Program of Europe

Member StateMember sinceOrganizationWebsite
Austria1993Zentralanstalt für Meteologie und GeodynamikZAMG
Belgium1986Koninklijk Meteorologische Instituut van BelgiëKMI
Bulgaria2014National Institute for Meteorology and HydrologyNIMH
Croatia2006Drzavni hidrometeorloski zavodDHMZ
Czech Rep.2010Český hydrometeorologický ústavCHMI
Denmark1986Danmarks Meteorologiske InstitutDMI
Estonia2013Riigi IlmateenistusEMHI
Finland1986Ilmatieteen LaitosFMI
France1986Météo-France      METEO FRANCE
Germany1986Deutscher WetterdienstDWD
Greece1988Hellenic National Meteorological Service
Hungary2008Országos Meteorológial SzolgálatOMSZ
Iceland2014Veõurstofa ÍslandsIMO
Ireland1986Met ÉireannMet Éireann
Italy1986Ufficio Generale Spazio Aereo e Meteorologia
Latvia2009Latvijas Vides, Geologijas un Meteorologijas CentrsLEGMC
Lithuania2013Lietuvos Hidrometeorologijos TarnybaLHMT
Luxembourg2002Administration de la navigation aérienne
Netherlands 1986Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch InstituutKNMI
Norway1986Meterologisk InstituttNMI
Poland2009Instytut Meteorologii I Gospodarki WodnejIMGW
Portugal1989Instituto Portugues do Mar e da AtmosferaIPMA
Romania2010National Meteorological Administration of RomaniaNMA
Slovak Rep.2006Slovensky hydrometeorologicky ústavSHMU
Slovenia2008Agencija Republike Slovenije za ÔkoljeSEA
Spain1986Agencia Estatal de MeteorologiaAEMET
Sweden1986Sveriges meteorologiska och hydrologiska institutSMHI
Türkiye1986Meteoroloji Genel MüdürlügüTSMS

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