Business

June 6, 2018
 

Airbus-built Aeolus wind sensor satellite ready for shipment

ESA’s spacecraft Aeolus, built by Airbus is now ready for launch.

Aeolus, the European Space Agency’s wind sensing satellite, is now ready for its upcoming launch.

It will be shipped across the Atlantic on the Airbus vessel “Ciudad de Cádiz” to Kourou, French Guiana, where a Vega launcher will send it to orbit on Aug. 21.

The instrument is so sensitive that it could be damaged by a sudden loss of pressure. For this reason, air transportation has to be avoided and for the first time Airbus will transport one of its satellites on-board its own vessel.

The 1.33-tonne spacecraft, primed by Airbus, features the first ever space-borne LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) instrument called Aladin, which uses the Doppler effect to determine the wind speed at varying altitudes.

Aladin fires a powerful ultraviolet laser pulse down through the atmosphere and collects backscattered light, using a large 1.5m diameter telescope, which is then analysed on-board by highly sensitive receivers to determine the Doppler shift of the signal from layers at different heights in the atmosphere.

“Aeolus is a world first with break-through technology that will make a huge contribution to weather forecasting on a global scale. Pioneering a LIDAR instrument in Space is quite a challenge — but a great example of what Europeans can achieve when we work together,” said Nicolas Chamussy, Head of Space Systems at Airbus. 

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 kilometer orbit for three years.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines – April 17, 2019

News Army secretary reveals weapons wish list for war with China, Russia – U.S. Army leaders revealed April 16 that they are briefing top military commanders about new weapons being built specifically for “high-intensity conflict” against China and Russia, in a new effort to assure that they could provide vital firepower for those potential battlefields...
 
 

News Briefs – April 17, 2019

U.S. airstrike kills top IS group leader in northern Somalia The U.S. military and a Somali official said April 15 that a U.S. airstrike killed a senior leader of the Islamic State in Somalia group that has led attacks in northern Somalia. The U.S. Africa Command said in statement that it carried out an airstrike...
 
 

The Raiders remembered

Courtesy photograph Lt. Col. Richard Cole, last of the Doolittle Raiders. Last week an airmen died, and with his passing so too comes the end of the journey of 80 men who, during World War II, did more to assure our victory and...