GeoWorld November 2012

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Time-sensitive GeoWorld departments such as NetLink, PeopleLink, Product News and Business News now are maintained solely at the Web site. Check there often for the latest updates as they happen. The Metop-B spacecraft was launched in mid-September 2012 by the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. This new satellite should allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue receiving data for models used to forecast U.S. weather and climate. Metop-B will serve as the second of three polar-orbiting satellites launched by EUMETSAT, which in 1998 teamed with NOAA under the U.S./European Initial Joint Polar System partnership, which calls on each agency to fly sensors on each other's polar-orbiting satellites that circle the planet 14 times per day in different orbits. Metop satellites fly in a mid-morning orbit, while NOAA's polar-orbiting environmental satellites fly in an afternoon orbit. The satellite partnership provides the majority of global data for numerical weather forecasts. It also provides observations that help predict environmental phenomena from volcanic eruptions to snow cover to sea-surface temperatures. The Metop satellites include advanced sensors for greater accuracy of atmospheric temperature, water vapor and ozone soundings, which are vital for improving weather forecasts, as well as special sensors for search and rescue operations. NOAA has comparable sounding capabilities on the Joint Polar Satellite System, the agency's next generation of polar-orbiting satellites. On behalf of NOAA, NASA managed the development, testing and integration of five U.S. instruments flying on Metop-B. European Satellite Constellation Grows The SPOT 6 Earth-observation satellite, built by European firm Astrium and launched in September 2012 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India, will work in unison with the very-high-resolution Pléiades 1A satellite. Beginning in 2014, the two will form a satellite constellation with future satellites Pléiades 1B and SPOT 7. This constellation will be able to view each point of the globe once per day in high and very-high resolution. SPOT 6 and SPOT 7—each expected to have a service Government Special Issue NOAA Satellite Launch Advances Climate-Modeling Work The second of three key polar-orbiting satellites heads for space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Data gleaned by the satellite should help improve the forecasting of U.S. weather and climate. "This launch is another milestone in a partnership that continues our wide-ranging ability to detect the early signs of severe weather, climate shifts and distress signals from emergency beacons in the U.S., Europe and around the world," said Mary Kizca, assistant administrator for NOAA's Satellite and Information Service. life of 10 years—will provide a wide picture over an area, while the Pléiades craft offer products with a narrower field of view and an increased level of detail (at 50-centimeter resolution). "With four satellites phased 90 degrees apart in the same helio-synchronous quasi-polar orbit, we will be able to offer our customers geoinformation products in record time, in as little as six hours," said Eric Beranger, CEO of Astrium Services, one of Astrium's three key business units. "With four satellites, we obviously have more freedom in terms of the revisit interval, for better change detection or faster coverage. Users can choose between very-high-resolution data capture at a specific point and high-resolution data capture over a larger area." N O V E M B E R 2 O 1 2 / W W W . G E O P L A C E . C O M 7

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