European space agency
On 23 November 1977 Meteosat-1 was launched by a Thor-Delta rocket from Florida. Meteosat-2 was launched on 19 June 1981 by an Ariane rocket from Kourou (French Guyana), as were launched all following Meteosat spacecraft. In the period between Meteosat-1's launch in 1977, and 23 November 1983, when it officially came to an end, the Meteosat Pre-Operational Programme both fulfilled the needs of its scientific users working in the fields of climatology and atmospheric physics, and provided a wealth of meteorological data for use in operational meteorology.
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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