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Russia launches European weather satellite

Russia Monday launched a European weather satellite from its Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said.

The launch of the rocket with Fregat booster and MetOp-B satellite was carried out at 08.29 p.m. Moscow time [16.29 GMT],” a Roscosmos spokesman said.

The satellite separated from the Fregat booster and reached a designated orbit at 09.37 p.m. Moscow time [17.37 GMT], as scheduled.

MetOp-B is the second in a series of three European polar orbiting weather satellites, designed and manufactured by Astrium to provide a broad range of measurements vital to weather forecasting and climate monitoring.

Its predecessor, MetOp-A, was orbited in October 2006. The last satellite in the series, MetOp-C, is expected to be launched in 2017.

The 4,100 kg satellite is manufactured by Astrium to provide weather data, and is designed to operate in orbit for five years.

Each MetOp satellite carries a set of instruments provided by the United States and a new generation of European instruments that offer improved remote sensing capabilities to both meteorologists and climatologists.

They alone possess the capability to provide a continual flow of weather and climate data spanning the whole planet, according to the European Space Agency (IANS).

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