DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Interbol satellites. Diagram showing the orbits (ellipses) around the Earth (centre left) of the auroral (green) and tail (orange) satellite pairs of the Interbol mission. This mission is a joint one led by the Russian space agency and also involving ESA and NASA. The satellites are being used to study the Earth's magnetosphere (curved lines) and the Van Allen radiation belts. The auroral satellites (launched 1996) reach distances of 20,000 kilometres from Earth, while the tail satellites (launched 1995) reach distances of 200,000 kilometres. Each main Prognoz satellite (at left in each pair) also has a smaller Magion sub-satellite.
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