ESA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ESA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Cluster II satellites in a clean room at the IABG facility in Munich, Germany. These four identical satellites are designed to study the interaction between the solar wind and Earth's magnetic field. They were launched in July and August 2000 into an elliptical polar orbit that ranges from 19,000- 119,000 kilometres from Earth. They orbit in a tetrahedral formation, allowing their data to be co-ordinated into three-dimensional views. Each satellite weighs 1.2 tonnes, and carries eleven scientific experiments. Cluster II is a project of the European Space Agency (ESA).
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