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Swarm constellation deploys booms

23/11/2013 5249 views 56 likes
ESA / Applications / Observing the Earth / Swarm

Following yesterday’s successful launch, another critical milestone has been passed. The three Swarm satellites have each deployed their four-metre long boom.

Carrying instruments essential to the mission, the boom trails at the back of the satellite.

The long booms were folded in the rocket fairing during launch.

During deployment, the booms swings gently back and forth before locking into position. Now deployed, each satellite measures just over nine metres in length.

Swarm instruments (side view)
Swarm instruments (side view)

Since magnetic cleanliness is of paramount importance to the mission, each satellite’s sensitive scalar magnetometer is housed at the end of the boom.

This is to avoid any magnetic disturbance that the electrical units on the satellite body could cause.

The optical bench holding the vector field magnetometer and the three startrackers are mounted half-way along the boom.

The constellation was launched yesterday at 12:02 GMT (13:02 CET)  on a single Rocket launcher from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

Swarm liftoff
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All three satellites are controlled by ESA teams at the European Space Operation Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

Engineers are working around the clock during the critical launch and early orbit phase to ensure the satellites are healthy and to switch on and configure vital systems. This phase lasts for about four days.

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