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ALADIN, the first Wind Lidar in space, completes a key test


oulouse, The ALADIN instrument (Atmospheric Laser Doppler Instrument) has successfully completed the life test of novel key components, the high power laser diodes that form the core of the transmitter laser. These complex electro-optical components have never before been qualified in Europe for long term operation in space. A lifetime of over 3 years has been demonstrated under representative test conditions. This is a major achievement in the development of ALADIN which will be the first wind lidar to be launched into space.

ALADIN will measure wind velocities from space with precision accuracy. The instrument emits short and high energy pulses towards the atmosphere and analyses the Doppler shift of the backscattered signal for each altitude. This is a direct detection lidar including a Mie channel (detecting light scattered from aerosols and clouds) and a Rayleigh channel (detecting light from air molecules up to 30 km altitude).

Astrium in Stevenage is prime contractor for the AEOLUS satellite, (named after the Greek god of winds) on which the ALADIN instrument will be mounted. Aeolus is being developed for the European Space Agency (ESA). As prime contractor, Astrium in the UK is responsible for the satellite platform including the electrical, thermal and propulsion systems, the Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS) and the overall integration of the satellite. The mission will provide three-dimensional measurements of the wind velocities all over the globe with the intention to improve numerical weather predictions and climate models.


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