After several decades of observations from space, direct measurements of the global threedimensional wind field remain elusive, however crucial to weather predictions. The ALADIN instrument, payload of the AEOLUS satellite (figure 1), will provide measurements of atmospheric wind profiles with global Earth coverage for the climatology and meteorology users. The AEOLUS programme is sponsored by the European Space Agency with a launch planned in 2008.
ALADIN belongs to a new class of Earth Observation payloads and will be the first European Lidar in space. The instrument comprises a diode-pumped high energy Nd:YAG laser and a direct detection receiver operating on aerosol and molecular backscatter signals in parallel. In addition to the Flight Model (FM), two instrument models are developed: a Pre-development Model (PDM) and an Opto-Structure-Thermal Model (OSTM). The OSTM integration has been completed and the flight equipments are under manufacturing. This paper describes the instrument design as well as the development status. The ALADIN instrument is developed under prime contractor EADS Astrium SAS with a consortium of thirty companies.