P.CARRIL / ESA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY P.CARRIL / ESA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Swarm satellites. Artwork of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Swarm satellites being released from their payload housing on the Rockot launch vehicle. These three identical satellites, named Alpha, Bravo and Charlie, were placed in orbit in 2013, two almost side-by-side at the same altitude and the third satellite in a higher orbit at a slightly different inclination. They are designed to record magnetic signals from the earth's core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere. This data is necessary for modelling the Earth's geomagnetic field, its interaction with solar winds and with other physical processes such as ocean circulation, climate and weather. The satellites were successfully launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia, on 22nd.
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