WMO welcomes the launch of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Himawari-8 satellite as the start of a new era for geostationary meteorological satellites.
Himawari-8 was successfully launched using H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.25 on 7 October 2014 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima, Japan.
The satellite successfully separated from the launch vehicle about 28 minutes after lift-off, and will fly unaided for around 10 days before settling into geostationary orbit.
Himawari-8, with the first of 16-channel imager onboard geostationary satellites with highest resolution of 0.5 km and a full disk scanning of 10 minutes, heralds the advent of a new generation of meteorological geostationary satellites. Satellite launches in the 2015-2019 timeframe are also planned by the China Meteorological Administration, EUMETSAT, India Space Research Organization, Korea Meteorological Administration, the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet) and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
These systems will provide unprecedented capabilities to WMO Members all over the world to support key satellite applications, such as severe weather monitoring, nowcasting and short range forecasting.
However, these satellites will also present unprecedented challenges for users worldwide, mainly in how to manage the order-of-magnitude increase in the amount of data and products to be generated from the advanced imagers and sounders on-board the satellites. In addition, novel data types from geostationary sounders and multi-channel imagers need to be accommodated by operators and users. Early preparation and training of users is essential, ideally starting five years prior to launch.
It is a priority of WMO and of the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS), which consists of all the operational satellite operators, to support the user community in light of these challenges. Satellite data users and WMO members require timely technical information on the new satellite generation to exploit its potential operational benefits and socio-economic value.
The WMO Space Programme, with the support of the CGMS member agencies, has developed the online portal SATURN (SATellite User Readiness Navigator) as a single point of access for all information pertinent to the global user community preparations for the new generation of satellites. SATURN also features a generic 5-year reference user readiness project, to assist Members in the preparation to use the new generation of meteorological satellites.
More information on Himawari-8 at: