NOAA 2006-074
Contact: John Leslie
NOAA News Releases 2006
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Next week’s planned lift-off of the European polar-orbiting satellite, MetOp-A, is being heralded as a major milestone in the U.S.- European Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS). The agreement between NOAA and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) coordinates respective polar satellite launches to improve coverage of weather and climate conditions. MetOp-A will be launched from the Baikonur Space Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, October 17.

"The NOAA-EUMETSAT partnership is absolutely crucial to the continuous flow of environmental data captured from space," said Greg Withee, assistant administrator for NOAA's Satellite and Information Service. "Launching MetOp-A is a milestone for NOAA and the U.S. because of the value and applications of data it will provide for monitoring sea-surface temperatures, drought and other climate conditions."

Lars Prahm, director-general of EUMETSAT, added: “A launch success will indeed be a significant milestone for operational meteorology. The agreed partnership between the United States and Europe will jointly ensure a continuous flow of vital data from polar orbit.”

The MetOp satellite series consists of three spacecraft, including MetOp-A, which are designed to provide operational data until 2020. Under the IJPS, the MetOp satellites, flying in a morning polar orbit of the globe, will carry key NOAA instruments. NOAA’s polar-orbiting satellites, the current NOAA-18 and the future NOAA-N Prime, carry a EUMETSAT instrument in an afternoon orbit. Together, EUMETSAT’s MetOp, NOAA’s polar satellites and the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program series satellites will provide global data for improving forecasts of severe weather, disaster mitigation and monitoring of the environment.

In 2007 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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