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Published: Wednesday 31 July 1996

seventeen European countries belonging to Eumetsat, the agency responsible for European weather satellites, met recently at Darmstadt, Germany, to approve a us $2.3 billion-system of weather satellites which will help provide more accurate forecasts. The members have proposed to build three satellites, for launch from the year 2002 , to orbit the globe from pole to pole, providing cloud images and meteorological mea surements from a height of 850 km. They will be Europe's first polar satellites.

Meteorological data consists of observations from both geostationary and polar satellites. While Eumetsat receives partial data from a geostationary satellite, Meteosat-5, for other observations, Europe has relied on data from us polar satellites over the past 25 years.

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