Airbus Defence and Space

Aeolus: wind monitoring

The aim of ESA’s Earth Explorer Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM-Aeolus) is to provide global observations of three-dimensional wind fields, which will improve current wind-profiling and thus atmospheric modelling and analysis techniques, benefiting operational weather forecasting and climate research.

ADM-Aeolus will gather data using the active Doppler Wind Lidar (DWL) method, whereby an active instrument emits laser pulses into the atmosphere and measures the Doppler shift of the collected return signal, backscattered at different levels in the atmosphere, creating a wind profile showing the relative strength of winds at different altitudes, as well as moisture and dust levels in the atmosphere.

Aeolus’ instrument is Aladin (Atmospheric LAser Doppler INstrument), a direct detection lidar incorporating a fringe-imaging receiver (analysing aerosol and cloud backscatter) and a double-edge receiver (analysing molecular backscatter). The mission is named after the mortal in Greek legend appointed by the gods as keeper of the winds.

Airbus Defence and Space is prime contractor for the Aeolus mission, and also responsible for the Aladin instrument, platform electrical architecture and subsystems.

Fact Sheet

Customer European Space Agency
Mission Global measurement of wind profiles
Orbit • 400km Dawn-Dusk Sun Synchronous Orbit
• Ground Track Repeat: 7 days
• Orbit Inclination: 97˚
Spacecraft • Power: 1401W orbit average
• Data rate: Downlink 10Mbps
Payload ALADIN (Atmospheric Laser Doppler Instrument)
Features ALADIN Laser:
• UV 355nm
• Pulse Energy 120mJ @ 100Hz
• Wind measured up to 30km altitude
• Measuring accuracy:
0-2km = 1m/s
2-16km = 2m/s
Launch Mass 1366 kg
Dimensions 1.74 x 1.90 x 2.00m
Launch Date 2016
Mission Duration Operational Lifetime: 3 years
Airbus Defence and Space Responsibilities • Prime contractor
• ALADIN Instrument design and build
• Electrical systems