A satellite launched by rocket from French Guiana this week will be the first to directly measure winds around the globe

The European Space Agency launched the Aeolus mission at 10.20pm BST (18:20 local time) on 22 August from its spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. It took 55 minutes for the Vega rocket to place the spacecraft into a 320km (198-mile) high orbit. Contact was then established through the Troll ground station in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica at 11.30pm.

The mission carries revolutionary ultraviolet laser technology to measure the winds around the globe. It will be the first satellite to provide wind profiles that begin at the surface of the Earth and extend upwards to 30km. When fully operation the satellite will supply 64,000 profiles a day.

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