In Photos: Vega Rocket Launches 'Aeolus' Wind-Mapping Satellite

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The Aeolus satellite arrives in French Guiana after a 12-day journey from France.

Into the Fairing


Engineers prepare to encapsulate the Aeolus satellite inside its payload fairing.

So Long, Aeolus!

CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG - J Durrenberger/ESA

The rocket's payload fairing closes around the Aeolus satellite as engineers get their last view of the satellite. It remained inside this protective nose cone until 3 minutes and 56 seconds after launch.

On a Roll


Sealed inside the payload fairing, the Aeolus satellite heads to the launch site at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. After this short road trip, was mounted on top of the Vega rocket in the launch tower.

Aeolus Gets a Lift


The Aeolus satellite, sealed inside its payload fairing, is hoisted to the top of the Vega rocket at the launch tower in Kourou, French Guiana.

Aeolus Joins Vega

CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG - G Barbaste/ESA

The Aeolus satellite sits on top of the Vega rocket inside the launch tower in Kourou, French Guiana.

Aeolus on the Launchpad

Stephane Corvaja/ ESA

The European Space Agency's Aeolus satellite and the Arianespace Vega rocket stand ready for liftoff at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.