As part of the series of tests being carried out at Intespace in Toulouse, France, the #Aeolus satellite has been given a ‘fit check’ to see that it can be connected to its #Vega rocket. Aeolus will be launched from Europe’s Spaceport in French #Guiana in the autumn of 2018 #Avio
Some news from #Aeolus: the wind sensing satellite built by Airbus for @esa is currently in our cleanrooms to undergo final checks before being shipped to French Guiana in the summer ready for launch on a Vega
The preparation of aeolus for his departure to French Guyana is progressing normally. It seems to be sleeping but aeolus is working hard. Operators and software engineers are correcting software and procedures errors that were encountered during aeolusfunctional tests. Correcting is mostly about verifying that the corrections work in all imaginable situations ! Cables that show aeolus as under perfusion actually provide the stimuli that it would receive if it was in orbit. photo Miguel Gallego, Airbus Defence & Space aeolus in a clean room of Intespace in Toulouse, connected to the environement simulators
The date of aeolus launch is (finally) official. It will be August 21, 2018, at 18:20 Kourou time, 23:20 Paris time. aeolus will be put into orbit by the 12th model of Vega, the smallest launcher that is available to Arianespace in French Guiana. The launch campaign will begin the very first days of July. This blog will follow the day-to-day campaign.
In the meantime, aeolus functional tests are running without any major hitch.
light flood test aeolus is getting back its solar arrays. The first solar array was connected, mechanically and electrically. The electrical connection is confirmed by a light flood test. The lighting in the clean room is off. The panels of the solar array are lit, one after the other, by a work lamp. The screen of the telemetry of aeolus screen shows the power generated, weak of course, but well present. screen from Torsten Wehr, Airbus Defense and Space
The « green » indicators at the top left of the screen show the generated power.
Discover more about our planet with the Earth from Space video programme. In this special edition, ESA’s Aeolus Project Manager, Anders Elfving, joins us in the cleanroom at Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, to talk about the challenges in developing the mission’s pioneering laser technology.
15 June 2018
Today is Global Wind Day, which couldn’t be more apt for ESA’s Aeolus wind satellite to begin its voyage to the launch site in French Guiana. And, while almost all satellites journey by aircraft, Aeolus is different, it’s going by ship.
Scheduled to liftoff on a Vega rocket on 21 August at 21:20 GMT (23:20 CEST) fr om Europe’s spaceport near Kourou, Aeolus carries one of the most sophisticated instruments ever to be put into orbit.
This pioneering mission uses powerful laser technology that probes the lowermost 30 km of our atmosphere to yield vertical profiles of the wind and information on aerosols and clouds.
Since the instrument is sensitive to pressure change, ESA and Airbus Defence and Space engineers decided that the safest way for it to journey from France, wh ere it has been going through testing, to French Guiana would be by ship.
Ready to load Aeolus
Denny Wernham, ESA’s Aeolus instrument expert, explains, “Going by ship may seem a little strange, after all it will take around 12 days to get there instead of a matter of hours, but if, for whatever reason, the aircraft had to descend rapidly and there was a sudden increase in air pressure, Aeolus’ instrument could be damaged.
“It was designed, of course, to allow for the pressure drop during launch ascent so that it could be taken into orbit, but not for a fast descent. So basically, once it’s up, it’s up.
“So, today we see our beloved satellite and all of its support equipment being loaded onto a ship in Saint Nazaire in western France and set forth across the Atlantic. And, indeed, it is kind of ironic: our high-tech wind satellite is travelling by a means that many years ago relied on the wind.”
Aeolus has, without doubt, been a challenging satellite mission to develop. Nevertheless, this long-awaited mission is now set to not only improve our understanding of how the atmosphere works and contribute to climate change research, but will also help to predict extreme events such as hurricanes. It will also help to better understand and model large-scale wind patterns driving weather such as El Niño.
While Aeolus is set to advance science, it will also bring considerable benefits to society by improving weather forecasts.
Aeolus measures the wind around the globe and delivers its measurements almost in real time, which is exactly what meteorological centres are waiting for to improve our forecasts.
ESA’s Aeolus project manager, Anders Elfving, said, “Today marks a very special day for us. After being such a long time in the making, Aeolus officially passed its ‘qualification review’ yesterday.
“This means its full steam ahead with what we call the launch campaign – essentially getting to the launch site and preparing the satellite for liftoff on 21 August.”
ESA’s Aeolus mission scientist, Anne Grete Straume, added, “I like the fact that our shipment date coincides with Global Wind Day. Aeolus will certainly advance science, but among its potential practical application areas is the wind energy industry.
“This industry needs to know how much energy they can produce at any one time – and for that they need accurate forecasts. We certainly hope that our mission will be able to help out there.”
#Aeolus, which will be the first-ever satellite to directly observe wind profiles from space, has arrived in French Guiana ahead of its #Vega launch in late August. Built by @AirbusSpace, it is part of @ESA’s Living Planet Programme. #VV12
Europe’s first mission to Mercury, a quartet of Galileo navigation spacecraft, a global winds observatory, and a new European weather satellite have arrived at an equatorial launch base in French Guiana in preparation for launches in the coming months.
The set of European missions are set to ride into space aboard four rockets, amid several more commercial flights carrying communications satellites to orbit, in what is shaping up to be a busy second half of the year for Arianespace, the French company which oversees Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launch operations at the European-run spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
The rapid-fire launch campaigns are already underway at the space center on the northeastern coast of South America, where technicians are preparing rocket and satellite hardware for liftoff.
ESA’s Aeolus winds mission arrives in French Guiana
Arianespace’s next mission, set for Aug. 21 at 2120 GMT (5:20 p.m. EDT; 6:20 p.m. French Guiana time), will use a light-class solid-fueled Vega launcher to place ESA’s Aeolus Earth science satellite into orbit.
ESA says Aeolus will be the first mission to measure wind profiles on a global scale, employing an ultraviolet laser instrument to probe the lowest 18 miles (30 kilometers) of Earth’s atmosphere, collecting data on winds, aerosols and clouds at different altitudes.
The wind measurements will help scientists understand how the atmosphere works, and also support improved climate change predictions, and better forecasts of hurricanes.
ESA’s Aeolus satellite is pictured inside a clean room at Airbus Defense and Space’s facility in Toulouse, France, before shipment to the launch base in French Guiana. Credit: ESA – M. Pedoussaut
Aeolus arrived in Cayenne, French Guiana, on June 27 on ship that carried it on a nearly two-week journey from France, and the satellite was trucked to the nearby space center to begin launch preparations.
While workers stack the four-stage Vega rocket on its launch pad, technicians inside a clean room at the Guiana Space Center will ensure Aeolus survived the trip to the launch base unscathed, then load propellant into the spacecraft.
The Aug. 21 liftoff will mark the 12th launch of a Vega rocket, developed by a European consortium led by Italian industry, and the first Vega flight of 2018. The Vega rocket will place the Aeolus spacecraft into a relatively low orbit around 200 miles (320 kilometers) above Earth.
Officials from ESA and Airbus Defense and Space, which built the Aeolus spacecraft, decided to transport the satellite across the Atlantic Ocean on a ship rather than on an aircraft. Engineers were worried the Aeolus mission’s sophisticated laser instrument could be damaged by a sudden pressure change inside a transport plane’s cargo bay.
The roughly 3,000-pound (1,360-kilogram) satellite is designed to handle the pressure change it will encounter during launch, but not the quick rise in pressure it would have seen during a sudden descent.
Aeolus will be ESA’s fifth Earth Explorer mission to launch, the next in a series of Earth science projects that have studied Earth’s ice sheets, oceans, water cycle, and magnetic and gravity fields.
The mission took twice as long to develop as originally planned after ESA started working on Aeolus in 2002.
“It’s the first time we’ve done this kind of instrument, in ultraviolet, ever in the world,” said Anders Elfving, ESA’s Aeolus project manager. “So it’s really a breakthrough technology. It’s learning how to master these technologies. There is no reference, and we could not fall back on another mission, so we had to find out al the troubles and solutions by ourselves the first time.”
This week will be interesting at #CSG there will be a "Dance of the launchers" Ariane 5 #VA243 will move from BAF to ZL3 so our Ariane 5 #VA244 can move from BIL to BAF, after which #VA243 can move back into BIL, at the same time the Vega P80 stage for #VV12 will move to ZLV
At the Airbus Defence and Space facility in Toulouse, France, ESA’s Aeolus wind satellite has been prepared for its launch on top of a Vega rocket from Kourou in French Guiana. Liftoff is currently scheduled for August. The development of this latest Earth Explorer started 16 years ago and has now finished.
From orbit Aeolus will measure wind profiles on a global scale using a pioneering laser technology. These measurements will greatly benefit existing meteorological models and fill a gap in the observations of wind.
6 July 2018
Having set sail fr om France on 15 June - Global Wind Day, ESA’s Aeolus wind satellite has arrived safe and sound at the launch site in French Guiana.
While almost all satellites travel by aircraft, Aeolus’ journey was rather different – it travelled all the way across the Atlantic from Saint Nazare, western France to the Port of Cayenne, French Guiana by ship.
Aeolus carries one of the most sophisticated instruments ever to be put into orbit. A 12-day journey was undertaken to avoid potential damage caused by air re-pressurisation during descent had the satellite travelled by air – a quicker but decidedly riskier option.
Upon its long-awaited arrival, the team unloaded Aeolus and its support equipment. The containers were then carefully positioned on a truck to be transported to the launch site about 60 km away, wh ere the satellite container was moved into the airlock, to stabilise after its long journey.
Aeolus on the integration trolley
The satellite was then removed from its container, placed on its integration trolley for testing and connected to its electrical support equipment. Initial checks indicate that Aeolus has withstood its journey from France in good condition.
ESA’s Aeolus project manager, Anders Elfving, said, “We are obviously all extremely pleased that Aeolus has now arrived at the launch site. An awful lot of work and planning went into making sure it arrived safe and sound – now it’s full steam ahead for preparing the satellite for liftoff on 21 August.”
A range of checks will be carried out on the satellite in the cleanroom before the scheduled liftoff on a Vega rocket on 21 August at 21:20 GMT (23:20 CEST) from Europe’s spaceport near Kourou.
This pioneering mission is set to provide global wind-profile data, using powerful laser technology that probes the lowermost 30 km of our atmosphere to yield vertical profiles of the wind and information on aerosols and clouds.
The mission will improve our understanding of how atmosphere dynamics work and contribute to climate change research. At the same time, it will also help to predict extreme events such as hurricanes and help us to better understand and model large-scale wind patterns driving weather such as El Niño.
It is also expected to bring considerable benefits to society by improving weather forecasts. Its global wind measurements, delivered almost in real time, are exactly what meteorological centres are looking for to improve their forecasts.
ESA’s Aeolus mission scientist, Anne Grete Straume, added, “We expect Aeolus to advance science, whilst at the same time having a range of potential practical application areas by improving forecasts, which is of importance to the wind energy industry, for example. Accurate forecasts are just one of the ways in which our mission will be able to help".