Astrium has been appointed prime contractor for the Aeolus Earth observation mission spacecraft, to be launched in 2007, the European Space Agency has announced.

The company has been working on the pre-development of the project. The 1-tonne Aeolus – the keeper of winds in Greek mythology – is the second earth explorer core mission. Aeolus will be launched into a 400km, sun-synchronous orbit. It will carry one instrument, an atmospheric Doppler laser detection and radar, (LIDAR), which will provide global observations of winds with a vertical resolution.

The provision of this data will satisfy the requirements of the World Meteorological Association in climate research and operational weather forecasting. Aeolus will be the first space-borne wind LIDAR offering global coverage.

Source: Flight Daily News