Minimize SWARM

Mission details:

  • Launch Date: 22 November 2013
  • Duration: 3-4 years

Mission objectives:

  • Studies of core dynamics, geodynamo processes, and core-mantle interaction.
  • Mapping of the lithospheric magnetisation and its geological interpretation.
  • Determination of the 3-D electrical conductivity of the mantle.
  • Investigation of electric currents flowing in the magnetosphere and ionosphere.
  • Identifying the ocean circulation by its magnetic signature.
  • Quantifying the magnetic forcing of the upper atmosphere.

Mission orbit:

  • Orbit: The Swarm concept consists of a constellation of three satellites in three different polar orbits.
  • Measurement altitude: Two satellites orbit at 462 km, third satellite orbits at 510 km


Each Swarm satellite is nine metres long (with boom deployed) and weighs 300 - 400 kilograms.


  • Electric field instrument
  • Accelerometer
  • GPS receivers

Launch vehicle:



The prime contractor for the three Swarm satellites was EADS-Astrium GmbH.
The electrical design procurement of instruments, integration and testing of the satellites was carried out by EADS-Astrium GmbH in Friedrichshafen, Germany while work on the propulsion system and structure was carried out mostly in Stevenage, UK by EADS-Astrium Ltd. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) supported part of the development of the Electrical Field Instrument (EFI) and the French Space Agency CNES provided, in kind, the Absolute Scaler Magnetometer.