ESA / J-L.ATTELEYN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ESA / J-L.ATTELEYN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Cluster II satellites. Artwork of two identical Cluster II satellites orbiting Earth. These craft are designed to study the interaction between the solar wind and Earth's magnetic field. Four were launched in two pairs in July-August 2000 into an elliptical polar orbit. On-board propulsion moved them to a new orbit of 19,000-119,000 kilometres from Earth. The four satellites orbit in a tetrahedral formation, allowing their data to be co-ordinated into three-dimensional views. The two year Cluster II mission is a project of the European Space Agency (ESA).
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