Proceedings PaperEuropean Space Agency lidar development programs for remote sensing of the atmosphere
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Active laser remote sensing from space is considered an important step forward in the understanding of the processes which regulate weather and climate changes. The planned launching into polar orbit in the late 1990s of a series of dedicated Earth observation satellites offer new possibilities for flying lidar in space. Among the various lidar candidates, ESA has recognized in the backscattering lidar and Doppler wind lidar the instruments which can most contribute to the Earth observation program. To meet the schedule of the on-coming flight opportunities, ESA has been engaged over the past years in a preparatory program aimed to define the instruments and ensure timely availability of the critical components. This paper reviews the status of the ongoing developments and highlights the critical issues addressed.