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Thomas Keating Ltd delivers last MetOp-SG Microwave Sounder Quasi-Optical Network delivered to Airbus

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In August 2022 Thomas Keating Ltd (TK) delivered the third and final QON for the Microwave Sounder instrument (MWS). This is part of the ESA/EUMETSAT MetOp Second Generation series of weather satellites and brings a seven year project for TK to a close.

The QON (Quasi-Optical Network) is the heart of the MWS instrument, collecting radio signals from the atmosphere and routing it to the appropriate receivers. Almost every component of the QON was manufactured in house from raw materials by TK.

The QON is tightly integrated with the rest of the instrument and required TK to work closely with our customer (Airbus Defence and Space) in Portsmouth.

The primary objective of the instrument is to improve the accuracy of weather forecasting by providing information on atmospheric temperature and water vapour profiles in both clear and cloudy conditions. An additional goal is to provide information to aid the understanding of climate change. The first of the three instruments that we have delivered is now integrated with the spacecraft, with the launch expected in 2024. The satellite lifetime is expected to be 7.5 years; the other two (identical) satellites will be launched later on to provide continuous coverage into the 2040’s and our hardware has been designed and tested to survive the long term storage that is required.

Thomas Keating Ltd

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