ESA’s Aeolus wind satellite flies in a polar, Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 320 km. It takes 90 minutes to complete one orbit around Earth and seven days to cover the globe.
ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, ESOC, in Germany operates the Aeolus satellite via the ground station in Kiruna, Sweden.
The scientific data, however, are downlinked from the satellite to the ground station in Svalbard, Norway.
The satellite completes an orbit around Earth every 90 minutes.
Thanks to the ground station’s northerly position, the satellite’s polar orbit takes it within view of the ground station in the vast majority of its orbits so that data can be downlinked directly.
Once the data have been received in Svalbard they are sent to Tromsø for processing. From Tromsø, the data are sent for further processing to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, UK, and to ESA’s centre of Earth observation, ESRIN, in Frascati, Italy.
ESRIN is responsible for making the data available to users.