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Aeolus data publicly available in NRT through KSAT´s unique polar stations

Data from ESA’s wind mission Aeolus are now being made publicly available, contributing to improved weather forecasts. The data is provided by KSAT in Near Real-Time from the two unique polar ground stations, Arctic Svalbard and Troll Antarctica.

Carrying breakthrough laser technology, the Aeolus satellite – an ESA Earth Explorer mission - is the first satellite mission to profile Earth’s winds directly from space. It was built to demonstrate how new spaceborne technology could profile Earth’s winds to understand how wind, pressure, temperature and humidity are interlinked – contributing to climate research and to forecasting the weather.  Aeolus wind data has been made available to the public by ESA starting 12. May.

Unique Pole-to-Pole support

Since the launch in 2018, KSAT has supported the mission with x-band acquisition from the Arctic Svalbard station. With its unique geographical position, located at 78´North, the KSAT Svalbard station is recognized as the best located ground station in the world for satellite control, covering all 14 of the daily 14 passes for most polar orbiting satellites.

In February 2019 a new antenna at Troll in Antarctica was installed for supporting the Aeolus mission from the Sothern hemisphere. Combined usage of Svalbard and Troll X-band stations ensures global NRT data coverage, supporting all 15 of 15 daily passes as part of Aeolus's Core Operational Services. Aeolus recently completed its 10,000th orbit. 

IMG-20190222-WA0001.jpgImage: The antenna at Troll Ground Station in Antarctica was built by KSAT to specifically support the Aeolus mission. Aeolus data acquired at Troll is transmitted via satellite link within 2 minutes to Aeolus Processing Facility /Tromsø. © KSAT

24/7 Acquisition, processing and distribution

KSAT is responsible for data acquisition, processing, archive and distribution. This is all monitored and controlled by the operations team at KSAT headquarters in Tromsø, ensuring uninterrupted 24/7 service.

Peggy Fischer, ESA’s manager for Aeolus data acquisition, production and delivery operations says: “The COSA Service provided by KSAT is a crucial element for successful Aeolus mission operations".  She continues “The Service includes core activities for the mission, ranging from global X-band data acquisition based on combined usage of Svalbard and Troll station up to systematic processing of science telemetry data to level 2A products. The processed data is delivered in near-real time, in less than 3 hours from acquisition, to ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) and ESA’s ground segment infrastructure for further production to higher level and access to scientific users."

By using the two polar ground stations in combination the data is made available to public users in less than 3 hours. It has only been weeks since its data have been made availabe to the public, and Aeolus has since January contributed to improved weather forecasts from the ECMWF.

" It´s exciting that Aeolus has moved from being a scientific mission to an operative one, contributing to everyday life and ultimately through providing important updates about wind conditions during forest fires and for improved hurricane warnings, we really can make a difference says Lena Nikolaisen, Service Manager Aeolus at KSAT.  


Top Image: Carrying breakthrough laser technology, the Aeolus satellite is the first satellite mission to profile Earth’s winds directly from space. Its data are now being used in near real-time for weather forecasting. Ⓒ ESA/VirES