Rumba, Salsa, Samba and Tango in the Magnetosphere - The Cluster Quartet's First Year in Space
Publication date: 02 July 2001
Authors: Escoubet, C.P. et al.
Journal: ESA Bulletin
Page: pp. 42-53
The four Cluster spacecraft were successfully launched in pairs by two Russian Soyuz rockets on 16 July and 9 August 2000. On 14 August, the second pair joined the first pair in highly eccentric polar orbits, with an apogee of 19.6 Earth radii and a perigee of 4 Earth radii. The very accurate orbital injection and low fuel consumption mean that spacecraft operations could continue for at least two more years after the nominal two-year mission. This is the first time that the Earth's magnetic field and its environment have been explored by a small constellation of four identical spacecraft. Preliminary results show that, as predicted, with four spacecraft we can obtain a detailed three-dimensional view of the Sun-Earth connection processes taking place at the interface between the solar wind and the Earth's magnetic field.Link to publication