Metop-A (launched on 19 October 2006) and Metop-B (launched on 17 September 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 two satellites will operate in parallel for as long as Metop-A's available capacities bring benefits to users. Metop-C is planned to be launched in October 2018.
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-B Mission.
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.