Airbus Defence and Space has sent the MetOp-C payload module, the ‘brain’ for Europe’s next polar-orbiting weather satellite, on its first journey. The module, which weighs around 2.1 tonnes, contains ten measuring instruments together with their control systems. These comprise systems for issuing commands and monitoring instruments, formatting data, encrypting and storing it as well as transmitting it to Earth. The payload module (PLM) will be tested in space conditions at the European Space Agency Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk in the Netherlands. The module will then go on a second trip, to the Toulouse Airbus Defence and Space site, where it will join up with the service module (SVM). The service module houses the main computer, power supply, attitude and thermal control systems as well as systems for controlling communications with the ground station. MetOp-C is currently planned to be launched in October 2018.