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:
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
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
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 http://television.esa.int and at http://sci.esa.int/cluster
The launch of the second pair of Clusters on 9 August will be covered live also on the Internet by ESA at http://clusterlaunch.esa.int
Further information on Cluster II and the ESA Science Programme can be found on the Worldwide Web at: http://sci.esa.int/cluster
Further information on ESA at: http://www.esa.int
For more information, please contact:
ESA - Communication Department
Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 (0)22.214.171.124.55
Fax: +33 (0)126.96.36.199.90
Alberto Gianolio, ESA Cluster Deputy Project Manager
Tel: +31 71 565 3394
Philippe Escoubet, ESA Cluster Project Scientist
Tel: +31 71 565 3454