Minimize Mission Summary


Primary objectives:

  • studies of core dynamics, geodynamo processes and core-mantle interaction
  • mapping of the lithospheric magnetisation and its geological interpretation
  • determination of the 3D electrical conductivity of the mantle
  • investigation of electric currents flowing in the magnetosphere and ionosphere

Secondary objectives:

  • identifying the ocean circulation by its magnetic signature
  • quantifying the magnetic forcing of the upper atmosphere

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.

On-board sensors
VFM Vector Field Magnetometer Provides vectorial measurements of the magnetic field
ASM Advanced Scalar Magnetometer Provides the total magnetic field (used to calibrate vector measurements); experimental vector mode
EFI Electric Field Instruments Provides (after processing) vectorial electric field measurements based on ion temperature & density, electron temperature
ACC Accelerometer Provides 3 degree-of-freedom measurements of non-conservative forces; used to derive atmospheric density and winds
GPSR GPS Receiver Provides 8-channel positioning data for precise orbit determination (positioning)
LRR Laser Retro-Reflector Provides positioning information through ground-based satellite laser ranging (via ILRS)

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

System budgets
Power GaAs triple junction cells with maximum power point tracker, 446 Wh EOL; battery 200 Wh
TM S-band @6 Mbit/s (in mode 2) TC: S-band @4 kbit/s
On-board storage 16 Gbit solid state recorder; up to 72h of data

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.