Swarm is a European Space Agency mission, launched in 2013, which consists
of three identical satellites designed to study the Earth's magnetic field
in greater detail than ever before. Swarm builds on the observations made
by the earlier Oersted and CHAMP
|Artist's impression of the Swarm A
Two of the Swarm satellites fly side by side in a polar orbit with an altitude
of 450 km (280 mi); the third moves in a different polar orbit with an altitude
of 530 km (330 mi).
The high-precision, high-resolution measurements of the strength, direction,
and variations of the Earth's magnetic field made by the satellites will
be used, among other things, to shed light on the dynamics of the Earth's
core, interactions between the core and the mantle, magnetization of the
lithosphere, currents flowing in the magnetosphere and ionosphere, and ocean
circulation (using its magnetic signature).
Each spacecraft carries the following instruments:
- Vector Field Magnetometer (VFM): Linear and low-noise measurements
of the Earth's magnetic field vector components.
- Absolute Scalar Magnetometer (ASM): Calibration of the main instrument
- Electric Field Instrument (EFI): Measurement of ion density, drift
velocity and electric field.
- Accelerometer (ACC): Measurement of non-gravitational accelerations
like air-drag, winds, Earth albedo and solar radiation pressure.
- Laser Range Reflector (LRR): Reflecting quartz prisms as part of the
satellite laser ranging network.
||Nov 22, 2013
||Swarm A, B: polar, 460km (apogee) × 87.4°
Swarm C: polar, 530km (apogee) × 88°
||9.1 m × 1.5 m × 0.85 m
||468 kg (launch); 369 kg (dry)
AND SPACE PROBES