ESA – Earth from Space: Bouches-du-Rhône

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07/10/2022
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The port town of Fos-Sur-Mer, in the southern part of Bouches-du-Rhône, France, is featured in this image captured by Copernicus Sentinel-2. It is from here where the first Meteosat Third Generation Imager satellite set sail last week on its journey to Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

Click on the image below to explore it in its full 10 m resolution.

Bouches-du-Rhône is the third most populated department in France. With its wild and varied landscape, it borders Vaucluse to the north, Gard to the west and Var to the east (with the Mediterranean Sea visible to the south).

Marseille, the second most populous city in France, has one of the largest container ports in the country. Facing Marseille, the Frioul archipelago is made of four islands: Pomègue, Ratonneau, Tiboulen, and If. In the lower centre of the image lies the Étang de Berre, a brackish water lagoon around 25 km northwest of Marseille.

Fos-sur-Mer lies on the Golfe de Fos, an inlet of the Mediterranean’s Gulf of Lion, around 50 km from Marseille. Originally a small fishing village, the port town was transformed in the 1960s with the expansion of Marseille’s port and the construction of a major industrial area. It has since become the centre of Marseille’s traffic and container shipments.

It is from here where the Meteosat Third Generation Imager-1 (MTG-I1) satellite set sail on its 12 day voyage to Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou.

MTG-I1 is the first imaging satellite in the Meteosat Third Generation programme which will improve weather forecasting in both Europe and Africa. Designed as a follow-up to the Meteosat Second Generation series, the MTG programme will ensure the continuity of high-resolution weather monitoring beyond 2040.

It will comprise six satellites: four MTG-I and two sounding satellites, MTG-S.

MTG-I’s Lightning Imager will provide a new capability for European meteorological satellites, ensuring the continuous monitoring of more than 80% of the Earth disc for detecting lightning discharges taking place either between clouds or from cloud and ground.

Once the four-tonne satellite safely arrives in Kourou, final preparations for lift off will take approximately seven weeks. It is scheduled to be launched in December onboard an Ariane 5 rocket.

Follow more updates on the first Meteosat Third Generation satellite by following our Earth Observation Launch Campaign blog or on the MTG-I1 Pre-Launch Diary. For general information on the Meteosat Third Generation constellation, click here.

This image is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

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