Stevenage – Aeolus, the European Space Agency’s wind sensing satellite, is leaving Stevenage, UK, in the next few days on the first part of its journey to space. It will be shipped to Toulouse, France, for final testing before it travels to French Guiana towards the end of the year ready for launch on a Vega launcher.

The 1.7-tonne spacecraft, primed by Airbus Defence and Space, features the LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) instrument called Aladin, which uses the Doppler effect to determine the wind speed at varying altitudes.