Metop-A (launched on October 19, 2006) and Metop-B (launched on September 17, 2012) are in a lower polar orbit, at an altitude of 817 kilometres, to provide more detailed observations of the global atmosphere, oceans and continents. The third MetOp satellite, MetOp-C, was launched on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on November 6, 2018 to continue the provision of data for weather forecasting from polar orbit.
Under Interagency agreements with NOAA, NASA (GSFC) provides five POES heritage instruments AMSU-1, AMSU-2, AVHRR/3, HIRS/4 and SEM-2 in support of the MetOp Missions.
AMSUAdvanced Microwave Sounding Unit→
Measurements of the scene radiance, and estimate the global atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles from the surface to the upper stratosphere.
SEM-2Space Environment Monitor-2→
Measurements of Earth's radiation belts and charged particle fluxes at satellite altitude. Provide awareness of solar and terrestrial anomalies and warnings of solar wind occurrences that may damage or impair satellite functionality.
HIRS/4High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder →
Estimate the atmosphere's vertical temperature and humidity profiles and the pressure of Earth's surface. Estimate sea surface temperatures, total atmospheric ozone, precipitable water, cloud height, and surface albedo.