Satellites packed like sardines
08 November 2013
The complex task of placing all three Swarm satellites on their launch adapter is complete. This is another significant milestone in preparing ESA's latest Earth observation mission for liftoff, which is now set for 22 November.
The Swarm constellation will measure the strength and direction of the magnetic and electric fields around Earth. The aim is to understand the individual sources of the magnetic field - each with their own characteristics in space and time.
This will provide 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.
The three identical satellites have been at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia since mid-September. As part of the campaign to prepare for launch, each satellite has been through a rigorous series of tests and been fuelled for their life in orbit.