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|Double Star is a mission of the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) in co-operation with the European Space Agency (ESA) to explore Earth's magnetosphere - the magnetic bubble that surrounds our planet. Double Star consists of two satellites orbiting Earth.
Its data will be essential to understand how the Sun activity influences the near-Earth space and induces changes in the 'space weather' through magnetic storms, streams of high-energy particles, etc. These powerful events take place in the magnetosphere and can have serious consequences to human activities, from power cuts to damaged satellites and communication breakdowns. Double Star will help to understand these phenomena and thus minimise their negative effect.
Double Star will follow in the footsteps of ESA's ground-breaking Cluster mission, a flotilla of four identical spacecraft launched in 2000, also to explore the near-Earth environment.
The key aspect of Europe's participation is the inclusion of seven instruments identical to those flying on the four Cluster spacecraft, plus one extra instrument. They will become the first ever European instruments to be flown on Chinese satellites.
Double Star and the Cluster flotilla will work in a synchronised way. This will allow scientists to explore key regions of the magnetosphere in more detail than ever before.
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