Artist's impression of the Swarm A and B.
Swarm is a European Space Agency mission, launched in 2013, which consists
of three identical satellites designed to study Earth's magnetic field
in greater detail than ever before. Swarm builds on the observations made
by the earlier Oersted and CHAMP missions.
Two of the Swarm satellites fly side by side in a polar orbit with an altitude of 450 kilometers (280 miles); the third moves in a different polar orbit with an altitude of 530 kilometers (330 miles).
The high-precision, high-resolution measurements of the strength, direction, and variations of Earth's magnetic field made by the satellites will be used, among other things, to shed light on the dynamics of 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:
|launch date||Nov 22, 2013|
|orbits||Swarm A, B: polar, 460 km (apogee) × 87.4°
Swarm C: polar, 530 km (apogee) × 88°
|dimensions||9.1 m × 1.5 m × 0.85 m|
|mass||468 kg (launch); 369 kg (dry)|