Europe Is Launching a New Weather Satellite Tonight. Watch It Live!

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, 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.

An artist's impression of the Metop-C satellite in orbit (Image credit: ESA)

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. 

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket sits atop its launch awaiting the installation of the European MetOp-C weather satellite ahead of a planned launch from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana on Nov. 6, 2018. (Image credit: Arianespace)

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.