European space agency
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The results being achieved in the 60's with the American meteorological TIROS satellites -the first of which had been launched on 1 April 1960- convinced European meteorologists of the usefulness of space-acquired data. The first proposal for a national geostationary meteorological satellite had been made by the French national space agency (CNES) in 1969. In 1971 CNES proposed to ESRO (which later became ESA) that their Meteosat concept be "Europeanised". The proposal was accepted in 1972 and 8 Member States decided to finance the Pre-Operational Programme (Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland).
Moreover, it had become clear that Meteosat, as a remote-sensing system for operational meteorology, had a range of applications far beyond those initially foreseen. The prospects offered by the Pre-Operational Meteosat Programme, and its subsequent success, encouraged many European countries to increase their efforts to agree upon a new programme that could extend the project beyond the 2 initial satellites. 1991 Meteosat-3 has been used for the Atlantic Data Coverage mission at 50 degrees West.
Moved to 75 degrees West in February 1993, it performed the Extended Atlantic Data Coverage (Meteosat-XADC) mission through a relay station implemented by the European Space Agency at the NOAA Wallops facility. The relay station and the Darmstadt control centre were linked through a commercial telecommunication satellite located over the Atlantic Ocean. The XADC satellite is not any more controlled from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt. This satellite was re-orbited in November 1995.
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