Artist's view of the three Swarm spacecraft
|Mission type||Earth's magnetic field observation|
|Website||eoPortal - SWARM|
|Mission duration||4 years (planned)|
|Launch mass||468 kilograms (1,032 lb)|
|Dry mass||369 kilograms (814 lb)|
|Dimensions||9.1 m × 1.5 m × 0.85 m|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||22 November 2013,
|Launch site||Plesetsk Site 133/3|
|Apogee||SWARM A: ≤460 km (290 mi)
SWARM B: ≤460 km (290 mi)
SWARM C: ≤530 km (330 mi)
|Inclination||SWARM A: 87.4º
SWARM B: 87.4º
SWARM C: 88º
|VFM: Vector Field Magnetometer
ASM: Absolute Scalar Magnetometer
EFI: Electric Field Instrument
LRR: Laser Range Reflector
Living Planet Programme
Swarm is an European Space Agency (ESA) mission to study the Earth's magnetic field. High-precision and high-resolution measurements of the strength, direction and variations of the Earth's magnetic field, complemented by precise navigation, accelerometer and electric field measurements, will provide data essential for modelling the geomagnetic field and its interaction with other physical aspects of the Earth system. The results will offer a unique view of the inside of the Earth from space, enabling the composition and processes of the interior to be studied in detail and increase our knowledge of atmospheric processes and ocean circulation patterns that affect climate and weather.
The overall objective of the Swarm mission is to build on the experience from the Ørsted and CHAMP missions and to provide the best ever survey of the geomagnetic field (multi-point measurements) and its temporal evolution, to gain new insights into the Earth system by improving our understanding of the Earth's interior and climate.
The Swarm constellation consists of three satellites placed in two different polar orbits, two flying side by side at an altitude of 450 km (280 mi) and a third at an altitude of 530 km (330 mi). The launch was delayed and rescheduled to 12:02:29 UTC (7:02:29 a.m. EST) on 22 November 2013, from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia. ESA contracted Astrium to develop and build the three orbiters, while Eurockot provided the launch services.
- Earth core dynamics, geodynamo processes, and core-mantle interaction
- Lithospheric magnetization and its geological interpretation
- 3D electrical conductivity of the mantle
- Currents flowing in the magnetosphere and ionosphere
- Identification of the ocean circulation by its magnetic signature
- Quantification of the magnetic forcing of the upper atmosphere
The payload of the three spacecraft consists of the following instruments:
- Vector Field Magnetometer (VFM): Linear and low-noise measurements of the Earth's magnetic field vector components. The fluxgate vector magnetometer is similar to the ones in the satellites Ørsted, CHAMP and SAC-C.
- Absolute Scalar Magnetometer (ASM): Calibration of the main instrument VFM.
- 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.
- ESA. "SWARM". eoPortal. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
- SWARM Technical Annex, 2004
- "Satellites packed like sardines". ESA. 8 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- Eurockot to launch two ESA Earth observation missions, 9 April 2010
- "Preparing to Launch SWARM". ESA. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- "Esa's satellite Swarm launch to map Earth's magnetism". BBC News. 22 November 2013.