After many years in development, the Aladin Doppler wind lidar is being added to the Aeolus satellite at Airbus Defence & Space’s facilities in Stevenage, UK. Planned to be launched by the end of 2017, Aeolus will be the first satellite mission to probe the wind globally. These vertical slices through the atmosphere, along with information on aerosols and clouds, will advance our knowledge of atmospheric dynamics and contribute to climate research.
Its state-of-the art Aladin instrument incorporates two powerful lasers, a large telescope and very sensitive receivers. The laser generates ultraviolet light that is beamed towards Earth. This light bounces off air molecules and small particles such as dust, ice and droplets of water in the atmosphere. The fraction of light that is scattered back towards the satellite is collected by Aladin’s telescope and measured.