ESA’s Swarm mission is dedicated to identifying and measuring precisely the different magnetic signals that make up Earth’s magnetic field. The three identical Swarm satellites are launched together on a Rockot launcher from Plesetsk in northern Russia. Once in orbit, each satellite’s long boom unfolds.
Magnetic cleanliness is of paramount importance to the mission, hence the sensitive scalar magnetometer is housed at the end of each boom, far away from any magnetic disturbance the electrical units on the satellite body may cause. The optical bench holding the vector field magnetometer and the three startrackers are mounted half-way along the boom. The boom measures about 4 m, almost half the length of the satellite.