The European launch provider Arianespace will launch a new weather satellite today (Nov. 6), and you can watch it live online!
At 7:47 p.m. EST (0047 GMT on Nov. 7), the MetOp-C will lift off on an Arianespace version of Russia’s Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. A live webcast of the launch will begin 20 minutes before liftoff, and you can watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of Arianespace.
About an hour after liftoff, MetOp-C will separate from the rocket’s upper stage and enter into a polar orbit just over 500 miles (800 kilometers) above the Earth, where it will spend the next 5 years monitoring Earth’s climate and providing important data for weather forecasters. [Amazing Launch Photos: Europe’s MetOp-B Weather Satellite Blasts Off]
The satellites’ sun-synchronous polar orbit not only places them in constant sunlight (which is convenient for charging solar panels), but it also “enables global observation of weather, atmospheric composition, oceans and land surfaces,” Arianespace officials said in a description of the mission.
MetOp-C will be the third and final satellite in the MetOp series of weather satellites, which are developed by the European Space Agency and operated by the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). MetOp-A and MetOp-B launched in 2006 and 2012, and those satellites are still operational.