Launch: 22 November 2013 (Rockot, from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in north-western Russia)
Mission Duration: 4 years nominal mission, after a 3 months commissioning phase. In November 2017, the mission was granted a four year extension to 2021.
Configuration: Nearly 5 m long main body; 4 m boom to accommodate magnetic field instruments and optical bench; electric field instruments on ram surface; precise co-alignment of star trackers and vector magnetometer; ultra-stable CFRP structure; attitude sensing in measurement mode by star trackers; attitude actuation by thrusters; 8 days full autonomy
Stabilisation: 3-axis stabilised; controlled to local orbit reference frame (satellites are kept nadir-pointing)
Mass: 472 kg each at Beginning of Life, 106 kg propellant at launch
Orbits: Drifting, near polar orbits: Swarm A and C pair at 87.35 deg inclination and 462 km initial altitude; upper satellite Swarm B at 87.75 deg inclination and 511 km initial altitude; local time of ascending node difference between lower pair and Swarm B drifts in time.
Ground stations: ESA/Kiruna 15 m (single station mission baseline); KSAT/Svalbard.
Mission exploitation: Flight operations at ESOC; post-launch support management from ESTEC; payload data ground processing at UK-PAC (Guildford), mission performance & user services at ESRIN; distributed higher level data processing and field modelling by scientific consortium; mission management at ESRIN.