The MetOp Second Generation (MetOp-SG) program consists of 2 series of satellites, with 3 units each, adding up to a fleet of 6 satellites. The Satellite A series will carry optical instruments and atmospheric sounders, while the Satellite B series will be dedicated to microwave instruments. Both of them are being built by Airbus, the first series in Toulouse (France), and the Satellite B series at the Friedrichshafen site in Germany.
At this moment, Airbus is working on the first MetOp SG-B weather satellite, after the giant satellite structure has arrived to the satellite integration center in Friedrichshafen. This structure is 19 ft. (6 meters) tall, 9 ft. (3 meters) wide and weighs about a ton. But this intricate-looking component is only the backbone of the future satellite, which will have a launch mass of around 4 tons.
Towards the end of next year, the satellite should be ready for the testing phase, when it will operate in space-like conditions.
Some of the things that these second-generation weather satellites will be able to provide include high-resolution measurements for the ocean surface, wind vector and soil moisture, as well as high-level precipitation and cloud measurements. The complex data these satellites will provide is obtained through optimized infrared, microwave, and radio-occultation instruments.
The first MetOp-SG satellite will be launched at the beginning of 2024. A pair of A and B polar-orbiting satellites will be constantly operating for the following 21 years, with each satellite being replaced with a new one every 7 years, when its service life ends.