With liftoff set for 7 November, the latest MetOp weather satellite has been rolled out to the launch pad and positioned on the Soyuz rocket for its ride into space from French Guiana.

MetOp-C in launch tower (ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

MetOp-C is the last in the current series of MetOp satellites, following on from MetOp-A and MetOp-B, which were launched in 2006 and 2012, respectively.

Launching the satellites sequentially ensures continuous observations of a host of atmospheric variables such as temperature, humidity, trace gases, ozone, and wind speed over the ocean.

These data are used mainly for numerical weather prediction – the basis for weather forecasting. Recent studies show that MetOp-A and MetOp-B have already reduced errors in one-day forecasts by as much as 27%.

Preparing MetOp-C for encapsulation (ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

While it was envisaged that each successive satellite would take over from its predecessor, their extraordinary quality means that MetOp-A and MetOp-B are still going strong.

Once MetOp-C has been launched and commissioned for service, EUMETSAT will have three satellites in the same orbit, equally spaced by 120°. This will benefit weather forecasting even more.

Positioning sticker on fairing (ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

MetOp-C will liftoff on 7 November at 00:47 GMT (01:47 CET), 6 November 21:47 local time.