PR 46-2000: Countdown for the Cluster Quartet
3 July 2000Only a few days remain before the start of the European Space Agency's Cluster II mission, a unique expedition to explore the magnetosphere and revolutionise our understanding of the interaction between the Sun and Earth.
Following the successful completion of the Cluster II Flight Readiness Review on 23 June, final launch preparations are progressing smoothly and combined operations with the Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle are now under way. The dual launches, each involving two Cluster spacecraft built under the prime contractorship of ASTRIUM (former Dornier Satellitensysteme GmbH, Germany), are currently scheduled for 15 July with a launch window opening at 12:40 GMT and lasting 6 minutes, and 9 August from Baikonur Space Centre in Kazakhstan.
A number of press events have been organised in various countries to coincide with both launches. The main press centre for the first launch will be located at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) at Darmstadt in Germany. Local press centres are also being set up in the other ESA establishments: ESRIN (Italy), ESTEC (The Netherlands), and VILSPA (Spain).
Details of the second launch press event, which will be held in London (UK), will be available at a later date.
Cluster II Competition Attracts Record Entries
A highlight of the first launch event at ESOC will be the announcement of the overall winner of ESA's "Name the Cluster Quartet" competition and the chosen names of the four Cluster II satellites.
Last February, members of the public in all of ESA's 15 member states were asked to suggest the most suitable names for the Cluster II spacecraft. The satellites are currently known as flight models (FM) 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Competitors were asked to propose a set of four names (places, people, or things from history, mythology, or fiction, but not living persons) and explain in a few sentences the reasons for their choice.
After sifting through more than 5,000 entries from all over Europe and debating at length the merits of the various suggestions, the multinational jury eventually produced a list of 15 national prize winners one from each ESA member state.
These finalists and their families have all won a 3-day trip to attend a special Cluster II launch event in one of these ESA establishments:
- ESRIN - winners from France, Ireland, Belgium
- VILSPA - winners from The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland
- ESTEC - winners from Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria
- ESOC - winners from Italy, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom
The Lucky 15
|Austria||VENTO, NUBO, FULMO, PLUVO||Andreas Rosenstingl|
|Belgium||ALBATROS, EAGLE, FALCON, HAWK||Andri Borremans|
|Denmark||ORIENTALIS, OCCIDENTALIS, AQUILSNIUS, AUSTRALIS||Mia Stamp|
|Finland||UKKO, ILMATAR, KOKKO, LOUHI||Ismo Hirvonen|
|France||ADAGIO, ALLEGRO, LARGO, VIVACE||Daniel Lellouch|
c/o Rehovot, Israel
|Germany||TRISTAN & ISOLDE, ROMEO & JULIA||Manuela Saal|
|Ireland||IMBOLC, BELTAINE, LUGHNASA, SAMHAIN||Grainne Duncan|
|Italy||GEA, URANO, TETI, CRONO||Paola Benna|
|Netherlands||KIN, UINAL, TUN, KATUN||Ben Jasper Fayer|
|Norway||CHLOROS, ERYTHROS, AUREUS, LUTEUS||Joar Vatnaland|
c/o Leeds, UK
|Portugal||IXCHELL, ITZAMNA, MAUINA, RAINBOW||Carlos Fernando Carvalhido Oliveira|
|Spain||DIVEE, BEEDY, EEROT, BROT||Sergi Porter|
|Sweden||FLUTE, VIOLIN, CELLO, PIANO||Ola Carlstrvm|
|Switzerland||SOLIA, LUNIA, EOLIA, ONDIA||Luciana Favre|
|UK||TANGO, RUMBA, SALSA, SAMBA||Raymond Cotton|
One of these lucky finalists will go on to gain a special grand prize when the winning names for the four spacecraft are announced at the ESOC event to mark the first Cluster II launch. These names will then become the official designations of the satellites.
Where to witness the first launch in Europe
On 15 July media representatives are invited to cover the launch from various sites in Europe. ESA will broadcast the launch live, with images from Baikonur and ESA's Operations Centre ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany. ESA programme officials and spokespersons will be on hand at each site for interviews.
European Press Centre, Germany
Robert-Bosch Strasse 5
8-10 rue Mario Nikis
Noordwijk Space Expo
Via G. Galilei
ESA/VILSPA Satellite Station
Villafranca del Castillo
Note for editors
ESA's Cluster II mission will study the complex interaction between the Sun and Earth in unprecedented detail. For the first time, four satellites will fly in close formation above the Earth's poles, studying the magnetic field around our planet and its continual battle with the energetic particles of the solar wind. This groundbreaking mission to explore the magnetosphere and provide the first small-scale, three-dimensional 'map' of near-Earth space is one of the key Cornerstones in ESA's Horizons 2000 long term science programme.