[Satellite TODAY 09-18-12] Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate have successfully launched the Metop-B European weather satellite into orbit from on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Spaceport, the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat) announced Sept. 17.
The Soyuz launcher deployed Metop-B and a Fregat upper stage shortly after takeoff. Starsem managed the launch of the Soyuz 2-1a rocket – Arianespace’s updated version of the Soyuz spacecraft.
Metop-B is the second of three polar-orbiting observatories owned by Eumetsat. It will replace Metop-A, which was launched in October 2006.
“Our ability to make accurate weather forecasts is vital to Europe,” Eumetsat Director General Alain Retier said in a statement. “More than a third of our industry is weather dependent. That is why Metop-B is important, for it is estimated that almost 5 billion euros a year is saved to European industry thanks to the information that is provided by weather satellites.”