What is Aeolus?
The Earth Explorer Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus will provide global observations of wind profiles from space to improve the quality of weather forecasts, and to advance our understanding of atmospheric dynamics and climate processes.
Although there are several ways of measuring wind from a satellite, Aeolus will utilise the active Doppler Wind Lidars (DWL) method. This is the only method that has the potential to provide the required data globally, from direct wind observations. In addition, a DWL will provide information on cloud top heights, vertical distribution of cloud, aerosol properties, and wind variability. This information is a useful by-product of the DWL method.
An improved model of the Earth's climate and atmosphere will lead to progress in numerical weather prediction (NWP), especially concerning long-term forecasting. It is widely recognised that a new global atmospheric observing system, such as Aeolus, will have a great effect upon operational weather forecasting. The provision of detailed wind profiles will also benefit scientists involved with climate research, allowing for greater accuracy in the numerical modelling of tropical regions in particular.
30 January 2017
The road to realising ESA's Aeolus mission may have been long and bumpy, but developing novel space technology is, by its very nature, challenging. With the satellite now equipped with its revolutionary instrument, the path ahead is much smoother as it heads to France to begin the last round of tests before being shipped to the launch site at the end of the year.
19 January 2017
The Aeolus Cal/Val Rehearsal Workshop will be held at the Centre International de Conférences in Toulouse, France, from 28 to 30 March 2017.
This is a reminder for users interested in participating, that the registration deadline of 1 February 2017 is soon approaching.
Planned Launch Date: January 2018
Duration: 3 years in LEO orbit.
Satellite: cubic platform and cylindrical instrument structure, weighing 1400 kg (including 266 kg fuel).
Power: 1.4 kW deployable solar array (2x3 panels) with GaAs cells, 84 Ah Li-ion battery.
ALADIN (Atmospheric Laser Doppler Instrument), a direct detection Doppler wind lidar operated at 355nm, incorporating a fringe-imaging receiver (analysing aerosol and cloud backscatter) and a Double-edge receiver (analysing molecular backscatter). The laser will be operated with 60mJ of power.
Launch vehicle: Vega
Mission Control: ESA-ESOC (Germany)
Ground stations in Kiruna, Sweden (telemetry) and Svalbard, Norway (science data)
Data Processing Sites:
Tromso, Norway (L0-L1), ECMWF, UK (L1-L2b), ESA-ESRIN, Italy (L1-L2a and calibration and monitoring facility)
The prime spacecraft contractor is Airbus Defence and Space (UK), (contract awarded in Oct. 2003).
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