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Image credit: ESA – M. Pedoussaut

Watch the ESA launch its wind-mapping Aeolus satellite at 5PM ET

The data it collects will improve weather forecasting.

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ESA – M. Pedoussaut

The European Space Agency is launching its Aeolus wind-mapping satellite today from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. Once in orbit, Aeolus will measure winds from the Earth's surface up to the stratosphere using powerful lidar technology, and it will do so on a global scale. The data Aeolus collects will help improve weather forecasting and provide valuable information for climate change research.

"The Aeolus mission will be a wonderful addition to our fleet of satellites that continually observe Earth bringing us incredible insights into our planet, in particular into the complex world of atmospheric dynamics and climate processes -- systems that not only affect our everyday lives but also have huge consequences for our future," Paolo Ferri, head of mission operations at the ESA, said in a statement last month.

The satellite was scheduled to launch yesterday but was delayed due to strong high-altitude winds. The Vega rocket carrying Aeolus is set to lift off today at 5:20 PM Eastern. You can watch the live stream beginning at 5:00 PM Eastern here or on the ESA's website.

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