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A Stevenage-built satellite has been launched, which is hoped will go some way in improving weather forecasts.

The Aeolus spacecraft, which is the work of scientists and engineers at Airbus on Gunnels Wood Road - has gone on a three-year mission.

Scientists and Engineers at Airbus on Gunnels Wood Road have been working on Aeolus, which will monitor wind profiles, in conjunction with the European Space Agency.

It is the first one which will directly measure wind speeds around the world.

Aeolus will orbit the Earth 15 times a day during its mission, firing data back down here for analysis.

Nicolas Chamussy, Head of Space Systems at Airbus said: "Aeolus is another first for Airbus, delivering a revolutionary Earth observation satellite that will give wind profile data in near real time, improving weather forecasting and helping to bring the benefits of space down to every citizen on Earth".

Simon Flemming, who has been working on the project, has been explaining why this is significant: "It will travel around the world many, many times per day and take direct measurements, using a laser, of the wind speeds at different altitudes throughout the atmosphere.

So, why is that important? To put it simply, it will improve our understanding of wind around the earth and that should improve our weather forecasting quite significantly in the future".

Simon continued: "It's great motivation coming in everyday, knowing you're doing something that hasn't been achieved before. Hopefully the outcome will be that we get some science data that helps move weather forecasting forward for everyone.

I'm not going to lie - that really does help you get out of bed in the morning!"


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