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Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus


Designation 43600 / 18066A
Launch date 22 Aug 2018
Country of origin Europe
Mission Scientific: Atmosphere, Wind measurement
Perigee/Apogee 320 km, sun-synchronous
Inclination 97°
Period 90.7 min (7-day repeat)
Launch vehicle Vega VV12

Launch initially planned in 2007, Vega launcher worth EUR 32.57 million

Part of ESA's Living Planet program. Main instrument: Aladin (Atmospheric LAser Doppler INstrument). It's developement was difficult because of technological challenges with the ultraviolet laser; caused overcost and delays.

Uses the Doppler effect to determine the wind speed at varying altitudes. Aladin fires a ultraviolet laser pulse down through the atmosphere and collects backscattered light, using a large 1.5-m diameter telescope, which is then analysed on-board by highly sensitive receivers to determine the Doppler shift of the signal from layers at different heights in the atmosphere.

The satellite was so sensitive it had to be transported to launchpad by boat because a sudden pressure variation could damage it.

In May 2019, the laser is said to have lost half its power and the backup source was switched on in July 2019.

In early Sep 2019, ESA had to move the satellite to minimise collision risk with Starlink 1-44

End of life

Out of service Apr 2023
Cause End of mission
Decay 28 Jul 2023

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Technical data


Prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space
Mass at launch 1357 kg
Dry mass  
Dimension 4 x 4.35 x 1.6 m
Solar array  
Stabilization 3-axis
DC power  
Design lifetime 3 years

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