In just a few months' time Europe's first Meteosat Third Generation satellite will soar into the skies on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana.

From geostationary orbit, this new satellite, carrying two new highly sensitive instruments, will take weather forecasting to the next level.

The satellite operations teams at two different centers have completed an all-important suite of tests ensuring that their procedures are fully compatible with the satellite.

These final tests, known as system validation tests, involved both Telespazio's control center in Fucino in Italy and Eumetsat's mission operations facility in Darmstadt in Germany.

Telespazio is responsible for the satellite's launch and early orbit phase, which covers the period from separation from the rocket to arrival at geostationary orbit.

This phase takes around ten days and includes four burns of the satellite's liquid apogee engine and deployment of the solar arrays and communications antennas.

Eumetsat is responsible for commissioning, routine operations in orbit and the provision of satellite data to national weather services and other users.

Slated for launch at the end of November, the first Meteosat Third Generation Imager, MTG-I1, satellite carries a Flexible Combined Imager and a Lightning Imager.

To meet more than the 20-year operational life of the mission, the full MTG system comprises six satellites, four MTG-I and two sounding satellites, MTG-S.

The two MTG-I satellites will operate in tandem—one scanning the full Earth disk, including Europe and Africa, every 10 minutes.

While the other will provide a local area coverage, for example covering only Europe, with a faster repeat cycle.

The single MTG-S satellite will also provide local-area coverage over selected parts of Earth, with a repeat cycle of typically five minutes.

At the moment, it's all steam ahead to get the first of these satellites, MTG-I1, into orbit.