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Artist's view of ADM-Aeolus
Mission type Weather satellite
Operator ESA
Mission duration 3 years (planned)
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer Airbus Defence and Space
Launch mass 1,366 kilograms (3,012 lb)
Dimensions 1.74m x 1.90m x 2.00m
Power 1400 watts
Start of mission
Launch date 2017
Rocket Vega
Launch site Kourou ELV
Contractor Arianespace
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous
Perigee 400 kilometres (250 mi)
Apogee 400 kilometres (250 mi)
Inclination 97 degrees
Repeat interval 7 days
Epoch Planned
Band S Band (TT&C support)
X Band (science data acquisition)
Bandwidth 8kbit/s download (S Band)
10Mbit/s download (X Band)
2kbit /s upload (S Band)
ALADIN: Atmospheric LAser Doppler INstrument

Living Planet Programme

ADM-Aeolus, or, in full, Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus, is an ESA satellite that is due for launch in 2017.[1][2][3] ADM-Aeolus will be the first equipment capable of performing global wind-component-profile observation and will provide much-needed information to improve weather forecasting.


  • Satellite 1
  • Instrumentation 2
    • Atmospheric LAser Doppler INstrument (ALADIN) 2.1
  • Launch 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The Aeolus is the fifth planned satellite in the Living Planet Programme of the European Space Agency. The central aim of this mission is to further the knowledge of the Earth's atmosphere and weather systems. By recording and monitoring the weather in different parts of the world, Aeolus will allow scientists to build complex models of our environment, which can then be used to help predict how that environment will behave in the future. These predictions will be useful in the short-term, since they can be applied to Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) in order to make forecasts more accurate. The mission will thus improve the knowledge of all sorts of weather phenomena, from global warming to the effects of pollution. ADM-Aeolus is seen as a mission that will pave the way for future operational meteorological satellites dedicated to measuring the Earth's wind fields.

The spacecraft is being built by Airbus Defence and Space.[4] In 2014 integration of ALADIN was completed and vacuum along with vibration testing begun.[5]:70


The wind-component profiles will be measured by the Aeolus payload, namely the Atmospheric LAser Doppler INstrument (ALADIN).

Atmospheric LAser Doppler INstrument (ALADIN)

ALADIN instrument, essentially a direct detection Lidar, consists of three major elements: a transmitter, a combined Mie and Rayleigh backscattering receiver assembly, and a Cassegrain telescope with a 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) diameter.[6] The transmitter architecture is based on a 150 mJ diode-pumped frequency-tripled Nd:YAG laser operating in the ultraviolet at 355 nm.[6] The Mie receiver consists of a Fizeau spectrometer with a resolution of 100 MHz (equivalent to 18 m/s). The received backscatter signal produces a linear fringe whose position is directly linked to the wind velocity; the wind speed is determined by the fringe centroid position to better than a tenth of the resolution (1.8 m/s).[6] The Raleigh receiver employs a dual-filter Fabry–Pérot interferometer with a 2 GHz resolution and 5 GHz spacing. It analyzes the wings of the Rayleigh spectrum with a CCD; the etalon is split into two zones, which are imaged separately on the detector.[6]

The processing of the backscatter signals will produce line-of-sight wind-component profiles above thick clouds or down to the surface in clear air along the satellite track, every 200 kilometres (120 mi). Wind information in thin cloud or at the tops of thick clouds is also attainable; from the data processing, information on other elements like clouds and aerosols can also be extracted. The data will be disseminated to the main NWP-centres in near-real-time.

Development of the ALADIN instrument has been problematic. The ultraviolet laser was causing damage to the optical surfaces in a vacuum. ESA scientists asked NASA for support, however NASA has minimal experience with lidar of this design. Technology required for the satellite was pushing the technology envelope, therefore after problematic development ESA asked Airbus to perform additional full-model tests in a vacuum before continuing mission development. Overall complications involved in the instrument caused an estimated 50% final cost overrun; ESA has agreed to come with additional funding for the project.[3]


ADM-Aeolus was designed to be compatible with many small-capacity launch vehicles such as Vega, Rockot or Dnepr.[1] In November 2013 ESA confirmed that ADM-Aeolus will be launched with VEGA in one of the five flights of the VERTA Programme.[7][4] In 2015 launch was postponed to 2017 due to problems with Lidar development.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b "ADM-Aeolus operations".  
  2. ^ "Tellus A: Special issue with manuscripts related to ESA's Atmospheric Dynamics Mission/Aeolus".  
  3. ^ a b c de Selding, Peter B. (22 May 2015). "Cost, Schedule Woes on 2 Lidar Missions Push ESA To Change Contract Procedures". Spacenews. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Aeolus: wind monitoring".  
  5. ^ "ESA Bulletin 161 (1st quarter 2015)" (PDF).  
  6. ^ a b c d "ADM-Aeolus (Atmospheric Dynamics Mission)".  
  7. ^ "VERTA Programme". ESA. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 

External links

  • Aeolus page at Airbus Defence and Space
  • Aeolus pages at ESA, with latest news
  • Aeolus page at ESA Spacecraft Operations
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