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Vega August 14, 2018

Flight VV12: The Arianespace Vega launcher will orbit ESA’s Aeolus wind mission

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

This will 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.

The liftoff will be from the Vega Launch Complex (SLV) in Kourou, French Guiana (South America).

The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Monday, August 20, 2018 in Kourou, to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.

ESA’s Aeolus satellite will be equipped with a single instrument: a Doppler wind LIDAR called Aladin (Atmospheric LAser Doppler INstrument) – 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.

The Aeolus mission will provide much-needed data to improve the quality of weather forecasting, contributing to long-term climate research.

Flight VV12 is the embodiment of a long-standing, fruitful relationship between ESA and Arianespace. Indeed, it will be the 50th mission launched by Arianespace for the European Space Agency, guaranteeing independent and reliable access to space for Europe, and benefitting the world’s citizens through investments in space technologies.

Airbus Defence and Space is the Aeolus satellite’s manufacturer.

  • For further information, download the Launch Kit by clicking here:
  • To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary from the launch site in French and English), go to or to on August 21, 2018, starting 15 minutes before liftoff.

About Arianespace

Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 570 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.

Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 17 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.

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