[Via Satellite 10-17-2014] The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus Defence and Space to design and build six second-generation Meteorological Operational (MetOP-SG) satellites in a $1.65 billion contract. The constellation is split into two series with three satellites each. The first of the six is planned to launch in 2021, and each spacecraft will have a lifetime of 7.5 years.
Airbus Defence and Space will lead a team of more than 100 companies in 16 different countries to manufacture the spacecraft. The company will manufacture the first batch, the Satellite A series, in Toulouse, France, while the Satellite B series will be built in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
ESA and Eumetsat have partnered to support the MetOP-SG constellation. To be built on the Astrobus high-power satellite bus, the first series will carry optical devices and atmospheric sounders while the second will focus on microwave instruments. Each satellite is expected to weigh roughly 4-tons and will be launched individually.
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