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Waspie_Dwarf

Swarm Mission Launched

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ESA’s Swarm trio on its way to watch over our planet’s magnetic shield

22 November 2013 ESA’s three-satellite Swarm constellation was lofted into a near-polar orbit by a Russian Rockot launcher this afternoon. For four years, it will monitor Earth’s magnetic field, from the depth of our planet’s core to the heights of its upper atmosphere.

The Swarm satellites will give us unprecedented insights into the complex workings of the magnetic shield that protects our biosphere from charged particles and cosmic radiation. They will perform precise measurements to evaluate its current weakening and understand how it contributes to global change.

The Rockot launcher lifted off from the Plesetsk spaceport in northern Russia at 12:02 GMT (13:02 CET) on 22 November.

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Swarm liftoff

Replay of the Swarm liftoff on a Rockot launcher from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia at 12:02 GMT (13:02 CET) on 22 November 2013.

The three-satellite Swarm mission aims to provide new information on the sources of the magnetic field inside Earth. This includes understanding how the magnetic field is related to the motion of molten iron in the outer core, how the conductivity of the mantle is related to its composition and how the crust has been magnetised over geological timescales.

It will also investigate how the magnetic field relates to Earth’s environment through the radiation belts and their near-Earth effects, including the solar wind energy input into the upper atmosphere.

Credit: ESA

Source: ESA - Space in Videos

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