Vega Flight VV12

Vega Flight VV12 with the Aeolus satellite

overview

Launch date
August 22, 2018
Payload(s)
Aeolus
Launch vehicle
Vega
Customer(s)
European Space Agency (ESA)
Status
Success
Prime contractor(s)
Airbus Defence and Space
Launch site
Spaceport, French Guiana (Guiana Space Center)
Orbit
Sun-Synchronous orbit

mission
description

For its fifth launch of the year, and the first in 2018 with Vega, Arianespace will orbit the Aeolus satellite, the world’s first space mission to acquire profiles of Earth’s wind on a global scale, on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA).

This marks the eighth Earth observation mission conducted by Arianespace for ESA. It will also be the 12th mission of the Vega launcher, which once again is to demonstrate its versatility and perfect adaptation to European missions dedicated to Earth observation.

Payload

Aeolus
  • CUSTOMER

    European Space Agency (ESA)

  • PRIME CONTRACTOR

    Airbus Defence and Space

  • MISSION

    Earth observation

  • PLATFORM

    Based on Mars Express design

  • MASS

    Total mass at launch: 1,357 kg.

  • STABILIZATION

    3 axis

  • DIMENSIONS

    4.00 m x 4.35 m x 1.6 m

  • TARGETED ORBIT

    Sun-synchronous, at an altitude of approximately 320 km.

  • DESIGN LIFE

    Three years operational, three months of commissioning

ESA’s Aeolus satellite will be equipped with a single instrument: a Doppler wind lidar called Aladin -an advanced laser system designed to timely and accurately measure global wind-profiles from space. Aeolus will probe the atmosphere with pioneering ultraviolet laser pulses, which will enhance the understanding of tropical dynamics and processes relevant to climate variability.

This mission will thus provide much-needed data to improve the quality of weather forecasting as well as contributing to long-term climate research.

For Aeolus prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space, this mission involves its 120th satellite built for launch by Arianespace, while 20 Airbus spacecraft remain in Arianespace’s backlog of payloads to be launched.

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