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Final preparations are being made for the launch of a Stevenage-built satellite that will help meteorologists further improve the accuracy of weather forecasts.

Airbus on Gunnels Wood Road has created the 1.4 tonne wind sensing 'Aeolus' in conjunction with the European Space Agency. It's the first of its kind capable of performing global wind-component-profile observation on a daily basis in near real-time.

Once launched from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou on August 21st, Aeolus will orbit the Earth 15 times a day during its mission, firing data back down here for analysis.

It will also help scientists better understand changes in the Earth's atmosphere.

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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