PR 44-1999: Cluster II Nears Countdown
9 November 1999On Wednesday 24 November, the four satellites of the Cluster II mission will be on display - for the last time together in Europe - at the IABG Space Test Centre in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany. Media representatives are also invited to attend a press conference with specialists from the European Space Agency, Dornier Satellite Systems - the prime contractor for the spacecraft - and scientists involved in the mission.
ESA's Cluster II mission is a replica of the original ill-fated Cluster mission (lost on the first test flight of Ariane 5 in 1996). The four spacecraft, flying in formation between 19 000 and 119 000 km above the Earth, will study the interaction between the solar wind and the Earth's atmosphere in deep detail, to obtain three-dimensional measurements of phenomena occurring in the immediate surroundings of our planet. Cluster II is scheduled for launch in mid-2000. The four satellites will be put into orbit in pairs by two Soyuz rockets, launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Mission control will be performed by ESA/ESOC (European Space Operations Centre) in Darmstadt, Germany. For at least two years, the instruments on board the four identical spacecraft will provide European scientists with insights into the influence of the Sun on our planet's environment. For media representatives wishing to attend the press conference at IABG the schedule and registration form are available at: http://subs.esa.int:8330/pressows/$$documents$$/news/1/1999/press44.html