Aelous satellite looking for land winds

Aeolus, put in motion by an Arianespace Vega rocket for the European Space Agency, will investigate the atmosphere with a powerful laser. Goal: improvement of the weather forecast.

The Aeolus satellite
The Aeolus © ESA / ATG medialab satellite

Arianespace revolves around the Aeolus satellite, with a Vega launcher, from French Guiana. This satellite makes it possible to start a campaign of measurements of the earth winds. Aeolus scans the atmosphere with a powerful laser.

Aeolus is part of the European Union's Copernicus program for monitoring the environment. This is the 50th mission that Arianespace has carried out on behalf of the European Space Agency.

The Aladin laser

Aeolus has begun aboard one of the most sensitive instruments ever brought into orbit around the earth: a Doppler laser called Aladin.

Aladin will make Aeolus the first satellite to measure the wind speed on Earth directly from space, providing data that is expected to significantly improve weather forecasts around the world.

Aladin should help to clarify the dynamics of the tropics and processes that influence the variability of the climate.

The vessel was so hard to imagine that NASA had given it up. European engineers at Airbus Defense and Space needed 15 years to develop it. His instrument, this LIDAR (laser), works a bit on the principle of a radar speed controller, except that it involves very fast light flashes that are sent from space. They will be reflected in the impurities of the atmosphere, water droplets or dust. From the time that the light needs to go down and up, we will deduce the speed of the wind.

The promised progress is clear according to Dominique Gillieron of Airbus Defense and Space. bob So it will be possible to detect the formation of winds, vortex in particular, very early. Nowadays, clouds are used as warning signals.

The NNO-2 antenna

The NNO-2 antenna that collects Aeolus signals
The NNO-2 antenna that collects Aeolus / ESA signals

While Aeolus will be in space, an Australian antenna called NNO-2 will collect signals from the satellite.

Since 2015, NNO-2 refers to space, listens to signals from newly launched missiles and satellites and gives instructions and instructions from technicians on the ground.

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