Meteosat is probably the most well known Earth observation programme, because of the broadcasting of its images during television weather forecasts.
Meteosat is Europe's contribution to the global observation system devoted to meteorology and climatology. The Meteosat system is the fruit of a French initiative which had carried out feasibility tests for a radiometer intended for a geostationary meteorological satellite. The first Meteosat satellite was launched on 23 November 1977 and operated until 1979. Meteosat-2, launched in 1981, took over and since then there has been no interruption to the Meteosat service which has been managed by the European EUMETSAT organisation since 1995.
There are two generations of Meteosat satellites:
* from Meteosat-1 to Meteosat-7, satellites mainly equipped with a 3-channel radiometer;
* from Meteosat-8, MSG satellites, or "Meteosat Second Generation" mainly equipped with a 12-channel radiometer.