Video: Aeolus launch highlights

August 24, 2018, European Space Agency
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Lifted into orbit on a Vega rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on 22 August 2018, ESA's Aeolus satellite will measure winds around the globe and play a key role in our quest to better understand the workings of our atmosphere. Importantly, this novel mission will also improve weather forecasting. The Aeolus carries one of the most sophisticated instruments ever to be put into orbit. The first of its kind, Aladin includes revolutionary laser technology to generate pulses of ultraviolet light that are beamed down into the atmosphere to profile the world's winds – a completely new approach to measuring the wind from space.

Prior to liftoff, the satellite had been at the spaceport for around six weeks being tested, fueled, encased in the Vega rocket fairing, rolled out to the launch pad and hoisted into the launch tower. Vega lifted off at 21:20 GMT (23:20 CEST, 18:20 local time) on 22 August. Some 55 minutes later, the upper stage delivered Aeolus into orbit and contact was established through the Troll ground station in Antarctica at 00:30 CEST on 23 August. The satellite is being controlled from ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. Controllers will spend the next few months carefully checking and calibrating the mission as part of its commissioning phase.

Credit: European Space Agency

Explore further: Launch of wind tracking satellite delayed—by adverse winds

Related Stories

Aeolus—preparing to fly the wind mission

July 25, 2018

The launch of Aeolus—ESA's mission to map Earth's wind in real-time—is getting tantalisingly close, with the satellite due for lift-off on 21 August from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. With the wind in their ...

Full steam ahead for Aeolus launch

July 10, 2018

Having set sail from France on 15 June—Global Wind Day, ESA's Aeolus wind satellite has arrived safe and sound at the launch site in French Guiana.

Wind satellite vacuum packed

November 2, 2017

With liftoff on the horizon, ESA's Aeolus satellite is going through its last round of tests to make sure that this complex mission will work in orbit. Over the next month, it is sitting in a large chamber that has had all ...

Recommended for you

First to red planet will become Martians: Canada astronaut

September 22, 2018

Astronauts traveling through space on the long trip to Mars will not have the usual backup from mission control on Earth and will need to think of themselves as Martians to survive, Canada's most famous spaceman half-jokingly ...

Three NASA missions return first-light data

September 21, 2018

NASA's continued quest to explore our solar system and beyond received a boost of new information this week with three key missions proving not only that they are up and running, but that their science potential is exceptional. ...

Dwarf companion to EPIC 206011496 detected by astronomers

September 20, 2018

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), European astronomers have uncovered the presence of an M-dwarf around the star EPIC 206011496. The newly found object is more than 60 percent less massive than our sun and is bounded ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.