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Raumfahrt - SWARM trio set - Mission

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5.10.2013

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Quelle: CNES

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With the launch of ESA’s Swarm trio set for 14 November, the first satellite has arrived safely at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. This new mission will unravel one of the most mysterious aspects of our planet: the magnetic field.

The arrival marks the beginning of the ‘launch campaign’, which includes an intensive period of tests to make sure that the satellites are fit for launch after their journey from Germany to Russia.

The campaign also includes the careful task of fuelling the satellites and attaching them to the rocket that will deliver them into orbit.

The remaining two satellites will arrive in the next couple of days, the second later today and the third at the weekend.

All three will be launched together on a single Rockot.

This first satellite has already been unloaded and taken by lorry to the integration facility, the ‘MIK’.

Swarm is the next in the series of Earth Explorer missions and ESA’s first constellation to advance our understanding of how Earth works.

The three satellites, developed for ESA by a consortium led by EADS Astrium GmbH, have a rather unusual shape – trapezoidal with a boom 9 m long that opens once in orbit.

This long boom means that the sensors at the tip avoid any magnetic interference from the rest of the satellite. Magnetic cleanliness is paramount for the mission.

Harnessing European and Canadian technological excellence, the three identical satellites will untangle and measure very precisely the different magnetic signals from Earth’s core, mantle, crust and oceans, as well as its ionosphere and magnetosphere.

 

The measurements from this state-of-the-art mission will yield new insights into many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside the planet to weather in space caused by solar activity.

In turn, this information will yield a better understanding of why our magnetic field is weakening.

Preparations for the launch of the Swarm mission from Plesetsk.

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It’s been a hectic week with having to move the three satellites in and out the cleanroom – it was a bit like playing musical chairs! Our Astrium colleagues had it all under careful control so it went really well.

And some of them have spent time listening to Swarm .....

It might seem strange but the Astrium engineers not only have to use their eyes for all this testing, but they also have to listen as well!

The photo shows an engineer using  stethoscope to hear if the high pressure latch valve opens and closes properly.

As well as the to and fro, they started the process of fuelling the FM2 satellite yesterday, which will continue until this evening. In the meantime, FM3, which is back from being fully fuelled, passed its health check with flying colours.In addition, side-B of FM1 had its ‘functional test’ and its Langmuir probe was cleaned, as shown in the photo below.

This sensitive probe is positioned under the satellite to provide measurements of electron density, electron temperature and the electrical potential of the satellite when it is in orbit.

Gettting ready to move. (ESA/J. Rautakoski)

Quelle: ESA

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Update: 30.10.2013 

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SWARM LAUNCH POSTPONED

The launch of ESA’s magnetic field mission from Plesetsk, Russia, has been postponed by about a week.
The announcement from the mission’s launch service provider, Eurockot, follows the decision to replace a unit in the Breeze upper stage of the Rockot launcher.
Originally scheduled for 14 November, the launch is expected to be delayed by about one week. More details will be given as they become available.
The three-satellite Swarm mission aims to unravel one of the most mysterious aspects of our planet: the magnetic field.
The field protects our planet from cosmic radiation and charged particles that bombard Earth in ‘solar winds’. Without this protective shield, the atmosphere as we know it would not exist, rendering life on Earth virtually impossible.
By analysing the different characteristics of the field, the mission will provide new insight into many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside the planet to weather in space caused by solar activity. In turn, this information will yield a better understanding of why the magnetic field is weakening.
Swarm is ESA’s fourth Earth Explorer mission, following GOCE, SMOS and CryoSat.
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Quelle: ESA

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Update: 6.11.2013

Artist's view of Swarm on a Rockot.

 

Swarm is ESA's first Earth observation constellation of satellites.

 

The three identical satellites are launched together on one rocket. Two satellites orbit almost side-by-side at the same altitude – initially at about 460 km, descending to around 300 km over the lifetime of the mission. The third satellite is in a higher orbit of 530 km and at a slightly different inclination. The satellites’ orbits drift, resulting in the upper satellite crossing the path of the lower two at an angle of 90° in the third year of operations.

 

The different orbits along with satellites’ various instruments optimise the sampling in space and time, distinguishing between the effects of different sources and strengths of magnetism.

 

The three-satellite Swarm mission aims to unravel one of the most mysterious aspects of our planet: the magnetic field.

 

The field protects our planet from cosmic radiation and charged particles that bombard Earth in ‘solar winds’. Without this protective shield, the atmosphere as we know it would not exist, rendering life on Earth virtually impossible.

 

By analysing the different characteristics of the field, the mission will provide new insight into many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside the planet to weather in space caused by solar activity. In turn, this information will yield a better understanding of why the magnetic field is weakening.
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Quelle: ESA

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Update: 14.11.2013 

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Quelle: CNES

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Three satellites on launch adapter …. and 22 November confirmed for launch

All three satellites have been now successfully mounted on the launch adapter.

The third Swarm satellite being moved to join the launch adapter. (ESA/M. Shafiq)
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On Tuesday, Swarm FM3 followed the same path as Swarm SM2 from the trolley to the flight bracket template. The new flight brackets were mounted and the assembly of satellite and brackets was transferred to the adapter
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Third Swarm satellite moves closer to the adapter. (ESA/M. Shafiq)
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The satellite was carefully lowered onto the adapter and bolted into position. The various steps involved are now well rehearsed and the experience of mounting the first and second satellites led to everything running very smoothly.
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Three satellites on the adapter. (ESA/M. Shafiq)
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On Wednesday, the umbilical connection to Swarm FM3 was established. This meant that the necessary electrical check could be completed. Astrium finalised the addition of multilayer insulation and removed a number of ‘red tag’ items.
 We took the opportunity to have a team photograph with the three spacecraft. The Astrium team are wearing the white coats and ESA the blue ones.
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Team infront of the constellation. (ESA/M. Shafiq)
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The Russian military are still progressing on schedule with the launcher activities. The upper stage and payload fairing have been transferred to the launch pad to be mated with booster. They are undergoing functional tests and electrical checks.
The satellite assembly is now further protected by antistatic foils closing the gaps between the contiguous spacecraft to preserve the surface of the solar arrays.
Also, today it was confirmed that Swarm will be launched on 22 November!
Quelle: ESA
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Update: 18.11.2013
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Swarm now on top of rocket upper stage

The pictures below show how the Swarm satellite assembly was lifted, positioned and joined to the Rockot Breeze upper stage of the launcher. All this took place yesterday.
The next step will be to fix the rocket fairing around the satellites to protect them during launch.
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The upper composite, which holds the Swarm assembly satellite, is hoisted to the top of the service tower and then onto the lower stages of the Rockot launcher, on 18 November, 2013.
ESA’s Swarm mission is ready for launch on a Russian Rockot on 22 November at 12:02 GMT (13:02 CET), from the Plesetsk cosmodrome. The three-satellite Swarm mission aims to unravel one of the most mysterious aspects of our planet: the magnetic field.
Swarm is ESA’s fourth Earth Explorer mission, following GOCE, SMOS and CryoSat.
Preparations for Friday’s launch of ESA’s magnetic explorer have reached an important milestone – the constellation is now in the Plesetsk launch tower.
The team in northern Russia said farewell to the three Swarm satellites at the weekend as they sealed them from view within the rocket’s fairing, which protects them from the rigours of launch.
This marks the culmination of two months of work testing and preparing the Swarm constellation for launch at the cosmodrome.
The fairing half-shells will open almost three minutes after launch. Once the second stage of the Rockot launcher has separated a few minutes later, the satellites will be taken into orbit by the Breeze-KM upper stage.
Just over 90 minutes after launch and at an altitude of 490 km, Breeze will release the trio simultaneously into orbit around Earth.
Today, in a rather wintery setting, the assembly, wrapped in thermal padding, was rolled out to the launch pad and hoisted to the top of the service tower. It was then lowered onto the lower stages of the Rockot vehicle.
The next steps on the road to launch involve a ‘dress rehearsal’ of the launch procedure and fuelling of the rocket for launch on 22 November at 12:02 GMT (13:02 CET).
For four years, Swarm will study the mysteries of Earth’s magnetic field, its interactions with the solar wind and its links to global change.
The five new-generation sensors on each satellite and carefully calculated orbits will provide the information needed to untangle the different sources that make up the magnetic field and electric currents around Earth.
The data will be used, for example, to build global models of the field generated by our planet’s core and crust.
Since the constellation was shipped to the Plesetsk Comodrome in September, the satellites have been through an intense series of tests to make sure they are ready for launch. They were also carefully fitted to rocket’s launch adapter.
This tailor-made part of the upper stage holds them in place within the fairing during the climb to space. Critically, it allows the three to be released simultaneously into orbit.
Quelle: ESA

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Update: 19.11.2013

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SWARM MISSION CONTROL READY FOR TRIPLE LAUNCH

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After months of intensive training, the Swarm mission control team are ready for liftoff on Friday. The team will carefully shepherd the trio of magnetic explorers through their critical launch and early orbit phase, ready to react to any problem.
The data from this new mission, planned to last four years, will be used to study the mysteries of Earth’s magnetic field, its interactions with the solar wind and relation to global change.
At 12:02 GMT on 22 November, a Rockot launcher will climb into the sky, soaring high above Plesetsk, Russia, 800 km north of Moscow. Some 91 minutes later, the Swarm trio will be released into orbit at 490 km.
That moment will mark the culmination of years of careful preparation capped by months of intensive training at ESOC, ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.
Working at consoles in the Main Control Room, the Swarm team will be waiting tensely as the satellites perform their automated sequence and then come to life, beaming their first signals back to the engineers via ground stations in Sweden and Norway.
Waiting for signals from space
“For us, AOS – acquisition of signal – marks the start of the mission, and it’s the crucial moment we’ve been training for,” says Juan Piñeiro, Spacecraft Operations Manager for Swarm.
“It’s just one critical moment during ‘LEOP’ – the three- or four-day Launch and Early Orbit Phase – during which we have to execute a series of key steps in the right order at the right time.”
During LEOP, teams will work around the clock to check out all the satellite systems and payload, and deploy the critical magnetic payload boom late in the evening of the first day.
Hundreds of orbital manoeuvres for a trio
Starting during LEOP, the Swarm trio will steadily separate into different orbits. Swarm-A and -B will drop to around 460 km and fly in tandem, while Swarm-C climbs to 530 km.
This process will take several months, because the satellites carry only simple thrusters that provide very modest ‘puffs’ of thrust of Freon gas. It will take hundreds of these manoeuvres to get them into their final scientific orbits.
Train as you fly, fly as you train
Training of the mission operations teams has lasted over a year, with the last few months being especially intense.
The training sessions simulate each phase of the mission, and often run through a full 12-hour shift.
In a ‘Sim’ engineers use the actual mission control system to operate and fly a faithful software replica of the real Swarm satellites that respond to their commands just as the real ones will.
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Quelle: ESA

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Update: 21.11.2013

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Friday, 22 November 2013 - 11:45-14:50 CET: SWARM LAUNCH
Watch the Swarm launch event live from the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, and liftoff from Plesetsk, Russia (all times in CET):
11:45–12:45
Welcome by Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General; Prof. Volker Liebig, ESA Director of Earth Observation Programmes; Thomas Reiter, Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations
Experts report on the development of the satellites, Earth’s magnetic field and their expectations of the Swarm mission
12:45–13:10
Live coverage of launch from Plesetsk, Russia – liftoff at 13:02
13:10–14:20
Break
14:20–14:50
Live coverage from European Space Operations Centre of the acquisition of first signals
14:50
End of live transmission. Replay videos will be available soon after the event
ESA’s three-satellite Swarm mission aims to unravel one of the most mysterious aspects of our planet: the magnetic field.
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Quelle: ESA

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Quelle: EUROCKOT

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Update: LIVE 22.11.2013 / 12.45 MEZ

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LIVE - Nebel über Plesetsk Cosmodrome


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Lift Off

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Quelle: ESA

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Update: 14.45 MEZ

-Live coverage from European Space Operations Centre of the acquisition of first signals

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Thomas Reiter: Erfolgreicher Start von SWARM und erste Signale von Satelliten erhalten.

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Update: 27.11.2013

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Swarm -Satelliten haben die kritische erste Phase ihrer neuen Mission beendet.

Reaching a significant milestone for ESA’s magnetic field mission, the Swarm satellites have completed the critical first phase of their new mission.
Over the weekend, ground controllers at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Germany shepherded the three satellites through multiple checks, ensuring that all systems were working as expected.
The fog-shrouded launch of Swarm on 22 November brought the three satellites into orbit at about 490 km altitude, marking the end the Rockot launcher’s mission and the start of Swarm’s.
This latest Earth observation mission is tasked with delivering exacting data to improve our understanding of how our planet’s magnetic field is generated and why it changes.
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Immediately following separation, the three satellites started transmitting their first signals to Earth, marking the start of the critical ‘launch and early orbit phase’, known as LEOP. 
“After separation, we acquired signals from the first two Swarm satellites 91 minutes into the mission, followed by the third at the 95-minute mark, all precisely as planned,” says a happy and relieved Juan Piñeiro, Spacecraft Operations Manager.
“This marked the start of LEOP, and the mission team was in the Main Control Room around the clock. Everything has gone very well, and I am very proud of the strong teamwork and dedication shown by everyone.”
The highlight of LEOP came around midnight on Friday, when each of the three satellites deployed their 4 m-long booms carrying instruments essential to the mission’s scientific success.
The rest of the weekend was spent configuring and checking out the satellites’ systems, including power and thermal, attitude and orientation control and onboard data handling.
The three identical satellites are in excellent health, and are now operating in ‘fine pointing mode’, in which the startrackers and GPS navigation are switched on.
Trouble-free launch and early orbit phase
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LEOP was formally declared as completed by Flight Operations Director Pier Paolo Emanuelli on Sunday evening at 19:30 GMT (20:30 CET), and the mission entered the commissioning phase, which will last around three months.
“We’ve had a trouble-free LEOP and the satellites are performing beyond expectation,” says Emanuelli. “We’re looking forward to an excellent mission.”
As part of the commissioning phase, engineers will successively switch on the instruments and conduct numerous calibration activities, some of which will involve attitude manoeuvres, orbiting, for example, sideways or backwards.
The satellites will also be shifted into their routine orbits, two at 460 km and one at 530 km altitude.
The data from this new mission, planned to last four years, will be used to study the mysteries of Earth’s magnetic field, its interactions with the solar wind and relation to global change.
"We’ve been able to achieve this success thanks the teams at Astrium – the prime contractor – and the numerous partners who built and tested the satellites; the accuracy and performance of the Rockot launcher; and the expertise and hard work of many teams across ESA and at our partners involved in Swarm,” says Yvon Menard, Swarm Mission Manager.
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Quelle: ESA

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Update: 2.05.2014

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Swarm 'delivers on magnetic promise'

The lack of any colour in this graphic indicates Swarm's model of the global field is already very good

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Europe's Swarm mission to measure the Earth's magnetic field in unprecedented detail is achieving impressive levels of performance, scientists say.

Even though the trio of satellites were only launched in November, they are already sensing the global field to a precision that took previous ventures years of data-gathering.

Engineers recently finished all their main commissioning tasks.

They have now put the Swarm constellation in full science mode.

The hope is that the satellites can now operate together for perhaps 10 years.

Certainly, their fuel situation is extremely positive thanks to a very accurate orbit insertion by the launch rocket.

“We are on our way; we have very good measurements and we are ready to start accumulating all the data that will provide excellent models for the way the magnetic field is generated by our planet,” said Dr Rune Floberghagen.

The European Space Agency mission manager was giving an update on the mission here in Vienna at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly.

Earth's magnetic field is worthy of study because it is the vital shield that protects the planet from all the charged particles streaming off the Sun.

Without it, those particles would strip away the atmosphere, just as they have done at Mars.

Investigating the magnetic field also has direct practical benefits, such as improving the reliability of satellite navigation systems which can be affected by magnetic and electrical conditions high in the atmosphere.

Swarm’s three identical satellites are equipped with a variety of instruments – the key ones being state-of-the-art magnetometers that measure the strength and the direction of the field.

Two of the spacecraft, known as Alpha and Charlie, are currently flying in tandem at an altitude of 462km, and will descend over time.

The third platform, Bravo, has been raised to 510km. A drift has also been initiated that will separate B’s orbital plane from that of A and C during the course of the next few years.

This geometry will enable Swarm to see the field in three dimensions, and to better gauge its variations in time and space.

It will mean the different components in the field can also be teased apart – from the dominant contribution coming from the iron dynamo in the planet’s outer core to the very subtle magnetism generated by the movement of our salt-water oceans.

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Describing these features in detail will take a while, but as an early benchmark the science team has assembled a model of the global field. It is based on just a few months of magnetometer data gathered in the post-launch commissioning phase.

And it shows that Swarm is providing more or less the same signal as a decade of data from the German predecessor mission known as Champ.

This is illustrated in the image at the top of this page.

“It shows the difference between the Swarm model and the Champ model. And what you see is the model error. Ideally, it should be white all over,” explained Prof Nils Olsen from the Technical University of Denmark.

The fact that the models are in such good agreement so soon was enormously encouraging, he told BBC News.

Engineers are still working a few niggles, which is not unexpected at this stage of a new mission.

For example, a back-up magnetometer on the Charlie platform has failed, perhaps damaged by the intense shaking experienced during launch.

Fully working primary instrumentation means this should not present a problem. But as a precaution, Charlie will now fly in the lower tandem pairing rather than as the lone high satellite, which was originally going to be its role.

Engineers also have some unexpected noise in their data. It is a very small signal but the team told the EGU meeting that they intended to get on top of the issue.

The interference in the magnetic data seems to come and go as the satellites move in and out of sunlight. It is possible that a component inside the spacecraft is evolving its own inherent field as temperatures change.

“It is not so much heating as differential heating that we think may be the problem,” said Prof Olsen.

“It seems on occasions that the Sun is producing some shadows because of features on the spacecraft, and this produces a thermal gradient.

“That’s our current working hypothesis, but I am confident we’ll solve this issue.”

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Magnetic "noise" from the satellites' own components has to be understood

Quelle: BBC

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Update: 20.06.2014

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SWARM REVEALS EARTH´S CHANGING MAGNETISM

Magnetic field changes

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The first set of high-resolution results from ESA’s three-satellite Swarm constellation reveals the most recent changes in the magnetic field that protects our planet.
Launched in November 2013, Swarm is providing unprecedented insights into the complex workings of Earth’s magnetic field, which safeguards us from the bombarding cosmic radiation and charged particles.
Measurements made over the past six months confirm the general trend of the field’s weakening, with the most dramatic declines over the Western Hemisphere.
But in other areas, such as the southern Indian Ocean, the magnetic field has strengthened since January.
The latest measurements also confirm the movement of magnetic North towards Siberia.
These changes are based on the magnetic signals stemming from Earth’s core. Over the coming months, scientists will analyse the data to unravel the magnetic contributions from other sources, namely the mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere.
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June 2014 magnetic field
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This will provide new insight into many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside our planet to space weather triggered by solar activity. In turn, this information will yield a better understanding of why the magnetic field is weakening.
“These initial results demonstrate the excellent performance of Swarm,” said Rune Floberghagen, ESA’s Swarm Mission Manager.
“With unprecedented resolution, the data also exhibit Swarm’s capability to map fine-scale features of the magnetic field.”
The first results were presented today at the ‘Third Swarm Science Meeting’ in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Sofie Carsten Nielsen, Danish Minister of Higher Education and Science, highlighted the Danish contribution to the mission. Swarm continues the legacy of the Danish Ørsted satellite, which is still operational, as well as the German Champ mission. Swarm’s core instrument – the Vector Field Magnetometer – was provided by the Technical University of Denmark.
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Earth's magnetic field
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Denmark’s National Space Institute, DTU Space, has a leading role – together with 10 European and Canadian research institutes – in the Swarm Satellite Constellation Application and Research Facility, which produces advanced models based on Swarm data describing each of the various sources of the measured field.
“I’m extremely happy to see that Swarm has materialised,” said Kristian Pedersen, Director of DTU Space.
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Quelle: ESA


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