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Copyright: ESA–P. Carril, 2013


The purpose of the Swarm Product Data Handbook is to provide a detailed description of the Swarm Level 1b and Swarm Level 2 products distributed to the Swarm users. These products include Swarm magnetic field models, ionospheric and thermospheric products, and Precise Orbit Solutions including supporting information. The product handbook is intended to support the use of the Level 1b and Level 2 products for further processing or application.

The Swarm Level 1b data products are the corrected and formatted output from each of the three Swarm satellites. By a complex assimilation of these individual satellite measurements into one set of products for the satellite constellation, the Swarm Level 2 Processor ensures a very significant improvement of the quality of the final scientific data products.

The definition and justification of Swarm Level 1b data is documented in [AD-5], Swarm Level 2 data and auxiliary products are documented in [AD-1] and [AD-2] of the ESA Swarm study under ESA contract no. 20969/07/NL/JA.

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Swarm L1b and L2 Data Access

Swarm Level 1b (L1b) and Level 2 (L2) data products are freely available by FTP to ESA-EO registered users. The FTP top-level structure is divided into the 'Level1b', 'Level2daily', and 'L2longterm' directories. Within the 'Level1b' and 'Level2daily' directories, the structure presents first the ‘Latest baselines' and ‘Entire_mission_data' folders, then a Simplified datatype list, and finally the satellite ID, if applicable. More detailed information can be found at

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Swarm Product Filename Extension

The Swarm filename extensions have been changed since 19 January 2017 (11:00 UTC) in order to rationalise the product's filename extensions. There are no changes to files which have already been disseminated. More detailed information can be found in Swarm news changes introduced in Swarm product filename extension.

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Acronym Description
ACC Accelerometer
ADC Analogue to Digital Converter
ADD Architecture Design Document
APDF Archiving and Payload Data Facility
AOCS Attitude & Orbit Control Subsystem
ANGARA Analysis of Non-Gravitational Accelerations due to Radiation and Aerodynamics
ASM Absolute Scalar Magnetometer
BGS British Geological Survey
CCDB Characterisation and Calibration Data Base
CDC Compact Detector Coil
CDR Critical Design Review
CI Comprehensive Inversion
CoG Center of Gravity
CSC Compact Spherical Coil
CRC Cycle Redundancy Code
CRF Common Reference Frame
DCG Document Contents Guidelines
DS Data Set
DSD Data Set Description
DSR Data Set Records
DNSC Danish National Space Center (now DTU Space)
DTU Technical University of Denmark
EADS European Aeronautic Defence and Space
EEF Earth Explorer Format / Eastward Electric Field
EESS End-to-End System Simulator
EFI Electric Field Instrument
EPS Electrical Power Subsystem ITRF
ESA European Space Agency
eu engineering unit
FAC Field-Aligned Current
GFZ GeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam, germany
GNSS Global Navigation Satellite System
GPS Global Positioning System
GS Ground Segment
HWM Horizontal Wind Model
ICRS International Celestial Reference System
ICGFM International Center for Global Earth Models
IERS International Earth Rotation Service
IGRF International Geomagnetic Reference Field
IGS International GNSS Service
IPGP Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France
IRI International Reference Ionosphere
ITRF International Terrestrial Reference Frame
ISP Instrument Source Packet
ITRS International Terrestrial Reference System
JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory
KO Kick-Off
LDA Local Data Archive
LP Langmuir Probe
L1b Level 1b
L2 Level 2
L2PS Level 2 Processing System
MSIS Mass Spectrometer and Incoherent Scatter
MOD Medium precision Orbit Determination
MPH Main Product Header
MPPF Mission Performance & Planning System
NEC North-East-Centre reference frame
N/A Not Applicable
NRL Naval Research Laboratory
PC Polar Cap index
PDGS Payload Data Ground Segment
PDS Payload Data Segment
PPS Pulse per Second
POD Precise Orbit Determination
S/C Spacecraft
SCARF Satellite Constellation Application and Research Facility
SMART Swarm Magnetic and Atmospheric Research Team
SOW Statement of Work
SPH Specific Product Header
SRD System Requirements Document
STR Star Tracker
SV Secular Variation
TBC To Be Confirmed
TBD To Be Defined
TCF Temporal Calibration File
TII Thermal Ion Imager
uc unsigned character
UTC Universal Time Coordinated
VFM Vector Field Magnetometer

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Introduction Constellation Mission Science Objectives


Copyright: ESA/ATG Medialab

Swarm is ESA's first constellation mission for Earth Observation (EO). This mission is operated by ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Germany, via the primary ground station in Kiruna, Sweden. This mission consists of the three identical Swarm satellites (A, B, and C), which were launched on 22 November 2013 into a near-polar orbit.

The final constellation of the mission was achieved on 17 April 2014. Swarm A and C form the lower pair of satellites flying side-by-side (1.4° separation in longitude) at an altitude of about 470 km (inclination angle is equal to 87.35°), whereas Swarm B is cruising at higher orbit of about 520 km (inclination angle is equal to 87.75°).

In the case of the natural orbit evaluation, the following constellation will be achieved:

  • The year 2018: B is perpendicular to the lower A/C pair;
  • The year 2021: B is counterrotating to the lower A/C pair every 47 minutes.

All the three Swarm satellite are equipped with the following set of identical instruments: Absolute Scalar Magnetometer (ASM), Vector Field Magnetometer (VFM), Star Tracker (STR), Electric Field Instrument (EFI), GPS Receiver (GPSR), Laser Retro-Reflector (LRR) and Accelerometer (ACC).

The thermo-optical properties and geometry of the outer surfaces of the Swarm satellites that are important for modelling of non-gravitational forces acting on the spacecraft are provided in the ESA-EOPG-MOM-MO-15 document.

Swarm satellite thermo-optical properties and external geometry published

22 June 2018

Modelling of non-gravitational forces such as drag or solar radiation pressure requires knowledge of the thermo-optical properties and geometry of the outer surfaces of the spacecraft. These are now provided in a memorandum and can be accessed here.

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The following performance reports are available:

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EO4Alps - The Alps from space workshop

27 - 29 June 2018

The European Space Agency is organising the 'EO4Alps' The Alps from Space Workshop, which will take place from 27 to 29 June 2018 at the Villa Blanka Conference Center, in Innsbruck, Austria.

The focus of this workshop is to assess the opportunities for EO research and development as well as downstream activities that may be the basis for future ESA investments to address some of the key information needs relevant to the Alpine Region. These opportunities will be framed with respect to emerging Earth science, development of novel applications, testing innovative information services and implementing required upgrades to capabilities to manage and manipulate large data volumes.

The objectives of the workshop are:

  1. To assess the status and priority interests in the European Alpine Region for Earth Science, geo-information and operational monitoring
  2. Review the main activities, projects and initiatives taking place in the different Alpine application areas, where Earth observation from space can contribute
  3. Evaluate the potential of the increasing observation capacity by satellites to address needs for science, applications and information services in the European Alpine region
  4. Characterise and address data collection and analysis gaps and define high-level requirements for supporting ICT solutions to advance EO data infrastructure capabilities in the Alpine region

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8th Advanced Training Course on Land Remote Sensing

10 - 14 September 2018

The European Space Agency (ESA) is organising an Advanced Training Course on Land Remote Sensing dedicated to training the next generation of Earth Observation (EO) scientists to exploit data from EO missions (e.g. the Copernicus Sentinels) for science and applications development.


The course is part of ESA's EO Science for Society – Scientific Exploitation element of EOEP-5 (the fifth cycle of ESA's Earth Observation Envelope Programme).


Post graduate, PhD students, post-doctoral research scientists and users from European countries and Canada are invited to apply to the 5-day course which will be held at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom during 10–14 September 2018. Research scientists and students from all other countries are also welcome to apply, subject to availability of spaces.

Earth Topics (Applications)
  • Solid Earth
  • geomagnetism

    Validated Swarm L1b and L2 products
    (64) recent views
    Last update: 22 June 2018

    Swarm is the fifth Earth Explorer mission approved in ESA's Living Planet Programme, and was successfully launched on 22 November 2013. The research objectives of the Swarm mission is to provide the best-ever survey of the geomagnetic field and its temporal evolution as well as the electric field in the atmosphere using a constellation of 3 identical satellites: Swarm-Alpha, Swarm-Bravo and Swarm-Charlie.

    For each Swarm Satellite, the payload consists of a set of seven instruments: Absolute Scalar Magnetometer (ASM), Vector Field Magnetometer (VFM), Star Tracker (STR), Electric Field Instrument (EFI), GPS Receiver (GPSR), Accelerometer (ACC), and Laser Retro-Reflector (LRR).

    Detailed information on the Swarm instruments is available on the Swarm Mission webpage.

    The following Swarm datasets are available and distributed to all the users:

    • Level 1b products
    • Level 2 products: Level-2 CAT1 and Level-2 CAT2

    Below is reported a brief description of each dataset, more detailed information is available in the Swarm Data HandBook.

    Swarm Level 1b products: the Level 1b products consist of time series of relevant quantities as observed along the orbit, corrected, calibrated and converted to physical units. The data are converted to engineering units using the best possible characterization data available.

    Swarm Level 2 products: while the Level 1b products are produced per spacecraft, the Level 2 products benefit from the use of the three satellites of the Swarm constellation. The Level 2 products are generated from two different sources: PDGS and L2PS (consortium composed by scientists). Two different categories of Level 2 products are available:

    • Swarm Level 2 CAT-1 products: complex algorithms contributing to the generation of a Level 2 product of the various sources of the Earth‘s magnetic field, of thermospheric products, and for Precise Orbit determination. The products are processed by L2PS under ESA responsibility, and are distributed by the PDGS. Swarm Level 2 CAT-1 products can be further divided into:
      • Level 2 CAT-1 products
      • Level 2 CAT-1 validation Products (providing products validation reporting)
    • Swarm Level 2 CAT-2 products: algorithms leading to a Level 2 product with minimum delay with respect to the generation of the corresponding Level 1b data. Level 2 CAT-2 products are generated and distributed on a daily basis by PDGS.
    Processing level

    How to access this data

    In accordance with ESA Earth Observation Data Policy, all Swarm Level 1b and Level 2 products are freely accessible to all users via anonymous FTP.

    How to access Swarm data is described on the Swarm Data Access webpage, while the data access user manual is available here.

    Terms & Conditions applicable
    Utilisation of this data is subject to ESA's Earth Observation Terms and Conditions

    The Earth Observation Weekly Newsletter is sent by email every week - usually on Fridays - and contains information about the latest technical news, ERS and Envisat planning activities, special images, planned events, documentation and tools related to ESA and ESA supported Third Party Earth Observation missions.

    A new layout has now been developed for the Newsletter, and more links have been added to the Earth Online website.

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    22 June 2018 - Week 25/2018