Aeolus, the European Space Agency’s wind sensing satellite, has been encapsulated into the Vega launcher at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou ready for launch on the 21 August.
Built by Airbus, Aeolus will be the first satellite capable of performing global wind-component-profile observation on a daily basis in near real-time.
The 1.4-tonne spacecraft, features the LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) instrument called Aladin, which uses the Doppler effect to determine the wind speed at varying altitudes.
The data from Aeolus will provide reliable wind-profile data on a global scale and is needed by meteorologists to further improve the accuracy of weather forecasts and by climatologists to better understand the global dynamics of Earth’s atmosphere.
Aeolus will orbit the Earth 15 times a day with data delivery to users within 120 minutes of the oldest measurement in each orbit. The orbit repeat cycle is 7 days (every 111 orbits) and the spacecraft will fly in a 320 km orbit and have a lifetime of three years.