Minimize Mission Summary


Provide global measurement of winds at all levels of the atmosphere, up to 30 km. Aeolus supports:

  • Major improvements in understanding and modeling of tropical dynamics
  • Improved accuracy of tropical forecasts
  • Improved forecasting of intense wind events
  • Better definition of planetary scale waves

Launch Date: January 2018 (Vega)

Mission Duration: Funded until end 2021; with a minimum 36 months nominal operations phase.

On-board sensors
ALADIN Direct Detection Doppler Lidar (D3L) operating in the ultra-violet spectral region (355 nm). The instrument measures both Mie scattering from particles and aerosols and Rayleigh scattering from the upper atmosphere
SSTI Satellite-to-Satellite Tracking Instrument; provides GPS observations of the Aeolus orbit
LRR Laser Retro-Reflector; passive optical reflector; enables satellite laser ranging by ground-based stations

Configuration: Octagonal structure with fixed solar wings, 5.3 m long, cross-section of 0.8 m2; winglets for aerodynamic stabilisation; ultra-stable CFRP structure, EGG instrument structure in carbon-carbon; no moving parts; modulated ion propulsion system for along-track drag-free control; drag sensing done by EGG instrument; attitude sensing in drag-free mode by star trackers and EGG instrument; attitude actuation by magnetic torquers; 8 days full autonomy.

Stabilisation: 3-axis stabilised; controlled to local orbit reference frame

Mass: 1200 kg Beginning of Life, including 280 kg fuel load.

Aeolus team

System Budgets
Power GaAs triple junction cells with maximum power point tracker, 2300 W EOL; battery 84Ah
TM-band X-band @5 Mbit/s
TC-band S-band at 2 kbit/s uplink and 8 kbit/sec downlink
On-board storage 4 Gbit solid state recorder; up to 72h of data
Mission Orbit
Orbit type Sun-synchronous, dawn to dusk
Repeat cycle 7 days
Orbit period 90 min
Mean local solar time at ascending node 6 p.m.
Inclination 97.056 deg
Mean Altitude Approximately 320 km

Ground stations: Kiruna 15 m; single station for telemetry; Svalbard for payload data reception; other stations can support, avoiding blind orbits for NRT

Mission operations: Flight operations from ESOC; satellite maintenance from ESTEC; payload data ground processing at KSAT and ECMWF user services from ESRIN