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Science & Exploration

N° 51–2000: Second Cluster Launch Will Complete the Space Quartet

31 July 2000

After the successful launch of the first two Cluster satellites - Salsa and Samba - on 16 July, followed by a perfect insertion into their operational orbits, scientists around the world are eagerly awaiting the launch of the second Cluster pair from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Lift-off for the next duo, FM 5 (Rumba) and FM 8 (Tango), is currently scheduled for 13:13 CEST / 17:13 Baikonur time, on 9 August. Following their release from the Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle provided by the French-Russian Starsem consortium, the satellites will participate in an almost identical series of complex orbital manoeuvres to their predecessors.

By 15 August, they should have joined their companions to form a unique space quartet. This mini-armada will spend the next two years exploring the interaction between the charged particles swept along in the solar wind and Earth's magnetic shield - the magnetosphere.

By flying in tetrahedral formation through this magnetic bubble and into interplanetary space, the Cluster quartet will provide the most detailed data yet on the Sun-Earth connection and the physical processes taking place between 19.000 and 119.000 kilometres above our heads.

Where to witness the launch in Europe.

On 9 August media representatives are invited to cover the launch from various sites in Europe. ESA will broadcast the launch live, with images from Baikonur and ESA's Operations Centre ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany. The main event for press and guests will take place at the Royal Society in London, UK, organized by ESA in collaboration with BNSC (British National Space Centre) and PPARC (Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council).

European Press Centre, UK:

Location:Royal Society,

Address: 6 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AG, London (UK)

Opening hours: 11:30-15:30

Contact point: Susan Hedges, PPARC

Tel: +44 (0)1793 442018

Fax: +44 (0)1793 442002


Location: ESA/ ESOC

Address: Robert-Bosch Strasse 5, Darmstadt, Germany

Opening hours: 12:30 -15:30

Contact point: Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin

Tel. + 49 6151 90 2696/ 2459

Fax. + 49 6151 90 2961

Infotape: +49 6151 90 2608


Location: ESA Headquarters

Address: 8-10 rue Mario Nikis, 75015 Paris, France

Opening hours: 12:45- 15:30

Contact point: Anne-Marie Rémondin/ Franco Bonacina

Tel. + 33 1 5369 7155

Fax. + 33 1 5369 7690

The Netherlands

Location: ESA/ESTEC

Address: Keplerlaan 1, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Opening hours: 12:30 - 15:30

Contact point: Heidi Graf

Tel. + 31 71 565 3006

Fax.: + 31 71 565 5728

Infotape: +31 71 565 8016


Location: ESA/ESRIN

Address: Via G. Galilei, Frascati (Rome), Italy

Opening hours: 12:45- 15:30

Contact point: Franca Morgia/ Marta Latilla

Tel. + 39 06 9418 0951

Fax. +39 06 9418 0952


Location ESA/VILSPA Satellite Station

Address: Villafranca del Castillo, Madrid

Opening hours: 12:45-15:30

Contact point: Fany Peña

Tel + 34 91 813 1211

Fax. +34 91 813 1212

Media representatives wishing to attend the launch event from any of the sites, are kindly requested to fill out the attached reply form and fax it back to the contact point at the site they have chosen.

For regular status reports and mission updates dial + 49 6151 90 2608 at ESA/ESOC.

The live launch video transmission will be available in analogue and digital format, via satellite. The exact times of the transmission and the satellite parameters will be posted as from 2 August on the Internet at and at

The launch of the second pair of Clusters on 9 August will be covered live also on the Internet by ESA at

Further information on Cluster II and the ESA Science Programme can be found on the Worldwide Web at:

Further information on ESA at:

For more information, please contact:

ESA - Communication Department

Media Relations Office

Tel: +33 (0)

Fax: +33 (0)

Alberto Gianolio, ESA Cluster Deputy Project Manager

Tel: +31 71 565 3394


Philippe Escoubet, ESA Cluster Project Scientist

Tel: +31 71 565 3454