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In Photos: Europe Launches MetOp-C Weather Satellite

MetOp-C's Orbit

Jacky Huart/ESA/CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

MetOp satellites circle the Earth in a nearly polar, sun-synchronous orbit just over 500 miles (800 kilometers) above Earth. In this type of orbit, the satellite is constantly exposed to sunlight as it circles between Earth's north and south poles.

The 1st MetOp Launch

K. Büchler/ESA/CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The Soyuz rocket that launched MetOp-A in 2006 is erected on the launchpad at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

MetOp-A

EUMETSAT

MetOp-A, the first of the three MetOp satellites, is shown in the clean room ahead of its launch in October 2006.

MetOp-A

K. Büchler/ESA

MetOp-A is about to be encapsulated in its payload fairing before launch.

MetOp-A

K. Büchler/ESA/CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The MetOp satellites are each about as big as a bus.

MetOp-B

Sander Koenen/ESA/CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

MetOp-B's payload module is ready to be encapsulated into its payload fairing ahead of its launch in 2006.

MetOp-B

ESA/CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

This was the last view of the MetOp-B satellite before it was stuffed into its payload fairing and launched into space.

MetOp-B Lifts Off!

EUMETSAT/CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The second satellite in the MetOp series, MetOp-B, launched on Sept. 17, 2012, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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