The Aeolus satellite, whose equipment was tested for 50 days by the liège space centre (CSL, ulg dependent), is due to take off in the evening of 21 August (23:20 Belgian time) from Kourou, the European space platform installed in French Guyana.
The mission will allow to measure winds around the globe for the European Space Agency, ESA. Aeolus is equipped with a device that includes two high precision lasers named Aladin (Atmospheric Laser Doppler Instrument), which will explore the lower layers of Earth’s atmosphere (up to 30 km in altitude) in order to draw a map of all winds around the Earth.
The gathered information will permit “not only a serious leap forward in meteorological measuring, but will also contribute to long-term climate research,” indicated Friday the Liege Space Center in a press communiqué.
“True, our daily weather forecasts already contain information on winds, but direct measures are too fragmented. And scientists and meteorologists need precise data at regular intervals on the winds, in order to comprehend the systems that influence our weather and climate, and to improve the forecasts. Aeolus will be the first satellite to provide this information,” stipulates the press communiqué.
Aeolus and its laser technology instruments have gone through a huge number of tests at the Liege Space Center. Many logistic means were deployed in order to reproduce space conditions. In total, the apparatus was tested under vacuum for 50 days running, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Aeolus is now ready for the great take-off. It should be launched on board of a Vega rocket Tuesday 21 August at 11:20 pm.
Within 50 years of space activity, this is the second time that LSC receives a complete satellite.