Arianespace has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to launch the ADM-Aeolus satellite, a key mission within the scope of Europe’s Earth Explorer program.
ADM-Aeolus will provide global observations of 3D wind profiles from space, enabling scientists to refine the currently known characteristics and improve techniques for modeling and analyzing the Earth’s atmosphere. This mission will make a direct contribution to improving the quality of weather forecasts and climatology research. The ADM-Aeolus mission is named after the mortal designated by the gods in Greek mythology as the keeper of the winds.
ADM-Aeolus will weigh about 1,400 kg at launch, and will be injected into Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 320 km. It comprises three modules:
-- Aladin (Atmospheric Laser Doppler INstrument), a direct-detection lidar (a laser “radar”) incorporating measurements of scattering from aerosols and water droplets (“Mie”) and molecular scattering (“Ray-leigh”), to provide 3D images of wind profiles.
-- A platform based on that used for the Mars Express spacecraft.
-- Solar array.
Airbus Defence and Space is prime contractor for the ADM-Aeolus mission, and is also in charge of the Aladin in-strument.
The satellite will be launched from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, during the second half of 2017, using a Vega light launch vehicle.
Following the contract signature, Stéphane Israël, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, said: “We are both proud and honored to be chosen once again for a European space mission, which will make a major scientific contribution to our planet. I would like to extend my warm thanks to ESA’s Earth observation directorate for their expression of trust. This latest contract is further recognition of the quality and reliability of the launch services offered by Arianespace and our light launcher, Vega.”