WASHINGTON — Software delays have forced Eumetsat to reserve a pair of Ariane 6 rockets for two European weather satellites initially expected to start on Ariane 5 rockets.
Eumetsat experienced signed a deal with Arianespace in 2015 to launch two or 3 Meteosat 3rd Technology satellites on Ariane 5 rockets among 2019 and 2023. Of those people satellites, only one particular, MTG-I1, will be done right before Arianespace switches fully to Ariane 6 rockets.
MTG-I1, an imaging satellite, will start on an Ariane 5 rocket in 2022, the very last year Ariane 5 will be offered, Paul Counet, Eumetsat’s head of tactic, interaction and global relations, explained to SpaceNews by e-mail July 6.
The sounding satellite MTG-S1, for which Eumetsat had a business Ariane 5 launch agreement, is now scheduled to start in 2023 on an Ariane 6, Eumetsat declared July 2. The 3rd satellite, MTG-I2, for which Eumetsat experienced an Ariane 5 agreement selection, will now launch on an Ariane 6 in 2025, the company reported.
Counet explained the swap for both satellites “was brought on by the unavailability of Ariane 5 soon after 2022.”
Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy is developing the MTG satellites using platforms from German company OHB. The organizations are building six MTG satellites in total — four imagers and two sounders — with 50 percent launching in the 2020s and the other 50 % launching in the 2030s.
A Thales Alenia Place spokesperson mentioned “new technological challenges” uncovered this yr with the instruments for the very first two MTG satellites, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, delayed those satellites and had a knock-on influence on the 3rd satellite.
OHB Head of Trader Relations Martina Lilienthal declined to remark on the induce of the MTG producing delays. The MTG satellites are based on OHB’s SmallGEO bus, which has experienced delays with early builds.
Counet mentioned Eumetsat designs to launch all 3 satellites with a co-passenger satellite, although conversations are ongoing about using the Ariane 62, the lighter version of Ariane 6 with two strap-on boosters, for the MTG-I2 satellite, which would probably make it a standalone mission.
MTG-S1 will start on an Ariane 64, the more powerful version equipped with four reliable rocket boosters, he said.