ESA Selects Arianespace’s Vega to launch Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Satellite in 2017
[Via Satellite 09-08-2016] 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 3-D wind profiles from space, enabling scientists to refine the currently known characteristics and improve techniques for modeling and analyzing the Earth’s atmosphere.
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:
- The Atmospheric Laser Doppler Instrument (Aladin), a direct-detection lidar (a laser “radar”) incorporating measurements of scattering from aerosols and water droplets (“Mie”) and molecular scattering (“Ray-leigh”), to provide 3-D images of wind profiles;
- A platform based on that used for the Mars Express spacecraft; and
- A solar array.
Airbus Defence and Space is prime contractor for the ADM-Aeolus mission, and is also in charge of the Aladin instrument. 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.