SAMPEX / HILT
STEREO / PLASTIC
STEREO SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED
On 26.10.2006 00:52 UT the NASA Mission STEREO
(Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) was successfully
launched with a Delta-II rocket at Cape Caneveral in
Florida / USA. The mission consists of two almost identical
spacecraft that are first injected into an orbit around the
Earth - Moon system. After the 2 months commissioning
phase the spacecraft use a close lunar swing-by to achieve
the final orbit around the sun. The heliocentric orbits
are such that the distance in heliolongitude increases by
45° per year. This provides for the first time observations
of active regions at the Sun and of coronal mass ejections
(CMEs) from different viewing directions, i.e. a
stereoscopic view, and thus allows the reconstruction
of 3D images.
MPE participates in the PLASTIC (PLAsma and SupraThermal Ion Composition)
experiment that was developed in an international collaboration under the
lead of the Space Science Department of the University of New Hampshire
(UNH), Durham, USA (PI A. B. Galvin). PLASTIC is the primary sensor for
the determination of the solar wind parameters density, velocity and
temperature, and provides elemental and ionic charge composition of the
solar wind and of suprathermal particles up to 80 keV/e.
Schematic view of the STEREO spacecraft and scientific payload.
The PLASTIC experiment in flight configuration.
(October 26, 2006)
Cluster will become the first multi-scale mission
On 10 February 2005, the ESA Science Programme Committee
approved unanimously the extension of the Cluster mission,
pushing back the end date from December 2005 to December 2009.
This extension will allow the first measurements of space
plasmas at both small and large scales simultaneously and the
sampling of geospace regions never crossed before by four
spacecraft flying in close formation.
ESA web page
Day side orbit of Cluster. The initial orbit of 2001 and the
orbit in 2009 are shown.
Night side orbit of Cluster. The initial orbit of 2001 and the
orbit in 2009 are shown.
(March 4, 2005)
DOUBLE STAR successfully launched
Since their dual launches in July and August 2000, ESA's four Cluster
spacecraft have been flying in a tetrahedral formation around the Earth,
sending back the first detailed, three-dimensional information about the
magnetosphere and its interaction with the solar wind.
Orbits of the 4 Cluster spacecraft and of the 2 satellites of the Double
Star mission, with a schematic picture of the magnetosphere of the
Earth. With the missions Cluster and Double Star, coordinated
measurements with up to 6 spacecraft are now becoming available for the
With the Double Star mission the Cluster fleet has been
two more spacecraft. The mission is based on an agreement between ESA and
the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA). The first spacecraft,
Double Star TC-1, was successfully launched on 29 December 2003 from
Xichuan with a Long March 2C/SM rocket into an equatorial orbit (570 x
78970 km). The second spacecraft with also 8 experiments, one of them of
Cluster heritage, was successfully launched on 25 July 2004 into a polar
orbit (690 x 38230 km). With the four Cluster spacecraft and Double Star
coordinated measurements with up to 6 spacecraft in the same region of
the magnetosphere are now becoming possible for the first time.
The payload of Double Star TC-1 includes eight instruments with five of
the eight being spares from the Cluster mission, including HIA (Hot Ion
Analyzer), that is part of the CIS (Cluster Ion Spectrometer) experiment
ESA Double Star web page
ESA Cluster web page
(March 3, 2005)
Last update: 2010-06-18 by