Arctic Weather Satellite send-off event

In the picture from left to right: Josef Aschbacher, ESA DG, Mats Persson, Minister of Education, Anna Rathsman, DG Swedish National Space Agency (Rymdstyrelsen), Marco Fuchs, CEO OHB SE and Simonetta Cheli, Director EO ESA, Arctic Weather Satellite itself. Credit: ESA - P. Sebirot

On April 4th we had the pleasure to show the Arctic Weather Satellite (AWS) for the last time in real life to a group of distinguished guests, amongst others our Customer the European Space Agency, ESA, the Swedish minister for Education, the Swedish Space Agency (Rymdstyrelsen), SMHI, Danish Meteorological Institure and EUMETSAT. We thank all of them for their continuous support and for making this mission happen.

This farewell event marks accomplishment of the AWS program before its shipment to the US for launch this summer.

The Arctic Weather Satellite mission will provide frequent coverage of Earth for improved nowcasting and numerical weather prediction. Carrying a cross-track scanning microwave radiometer, the Arctic Weather Satellite mission provides measurements of atmospheric humidity and temperature.

ESA's Arctic Weather Satellite is a prototype mission that aims to improve weather forecasts in the Arctic – a region that currently lacks data for accurate short-term forecasts.

Today, satellites, both those in geostationary orbit and in polar orbit, provide a wealth of information that meteorologists use routinely to forecast the weather. However, the monitoring of the Arctic remains insufficient, as geostationary satellites have no visibility of this northerly region.

The satellite will build on existing Arctic monitoring satellites and will provide precise, short-term weather forecasts for the Arctic region. It is equipped with a 19-channel cross-track scanning microwave radiometer which will provide high-resolution humidity and temperature soundings of the atmosphere in all weather conditions.

The Arctic Weather Satellite is the forerunner of a potential constellation of satellites, called EPS-Sterna, that ESA would build for Eumetsat if the first prototype Arctic Weather Satellite performs well.

The constellation would supply an almost constant stream of temperature and humidity data from every location on Earth. This would, for the first time, allow for very short-range weather forecasting, or ‘nowcasting’, in the Arctic. While the Arctic is the focus, meteorologists will also use the constellation to improve weather forecasts globally.

The Arctic Weather Satellite mission will support research into climate change. Climate change is occurring at a faster pace in the Arctic compared to other parts of the world and these rapid changes are affecting the Earth system as a whole.

Embracing the concept of New Space, the Arctic Weather Satellite was developed and built on a very tight schedule. It took just 36 months from ESA awarding the industrial prime contract to OHB in Sweden to the satellite being completed.

The satellite is based on the OHB Sweden developed InnoSat platform. The platform offers a highly versatile and flexible platform service for a large range of space missions both institutional as commercial. The InnoSat platform comes in various configurations to meet our customer demands in a standardized fashion whilst offering an as tailored fit as possible.

The satellite is scheduled to launch on a rideshare mission at SpaceX’s launch site in Vandenberg, California, no earlier than June 2024.

Benoit Mathieu, Managing Director of OHB Sweden:

“We are proud that ESA entrusted us this mission. After 36 months of contract, the satellite is at the stage as planned at contract signature. This is a tremendous success and underlines our reliability as a small satellite manufacturer.


This was made possible by the flight proven heritage of our InnoSat platform, the engagement of our teams and of the entire supply chain, and the very good collaboration with the ESA team which fully embraced the New Space approach.”




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