Earth's Magnetic Field Missions

Missions Completed Flying Funded, Approved or under Construction Proposed
Sunsat CHAMP Demeter swarm
- SAC-C - Gradsat


Goals for the 'Decade'

Name: Ørsted

 Sponsoring Organizations: Danish research institutions and private companies. International participation including NASA, CNES, and ESA.
 Altitude: 620 to 850 km, elliptic
 Magnetic instrumentation: 8 m boom w. triaxial compact spherical coil fluxgate and scalar Overhauser magnetometer (0.1 nT)
 Orientation: non-magnetic star camera (10-60 arc seconds)
 Other instrumentation: GPS receiver, particles
 Inclination: 96.62 degrees, approximately polar
 Local times: 2:30 AM/PM drifting at -23 minutes/month
 Launch date: Feb 23, 1999 at 10:29:57 UTC
 Launch location: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA
Launch vehicle: Secondary payload; 2nd stage of NASA Delta II
 Science and data availability contact: Torsten Neubert
 Lifetime: 14+ mos.
Additional Information
A special session on 'Earth and Planetary Magnetic Field Satellites' will be held at the AGU Spring Meeting (May 29-June 2, 2001; Boston, MA). For further information contact AGU or Naphsica Grammatica
 News: A successful launch occurred after 11 attempts, a Delta II record. Boom successfully deployed on March 14, 1999. Overhauser and triaxial fluxgate instruments are working well and have collected data since boom deployment. The GPS system has also worked well and is also continuing to collect data. The star camera has produced usable data about 17-50% of the time, with illumination and temperature being controlling variables. An IGRF 2000 candidate based on vector and scalar magnetometer data has now been accepted.

 Sponsoring Organizations: DARA, DLR and GFZ-Potsdam,Germany. International participation includes NASA, CNES, and DSRI.
 Altitude: Less than 300 to 460 km, circular (460 km at start of mission), eccentricity about 0.001.
 Magnetic instrumentation: 4 m boom w. triaxial fluxgate, Overhauser scalar (0.1 nT)
 Orientation: dual non-magnetic star cameras (arc second level)
 Other instrumentation: gravity, Digital Ion Drift Meter , GPS
 Inclination: 87.3 degrees
 Local times: Initially noon, with a nodal drift rate of 1.5 to 2 deg/day
 Launch date: July 15, 2000, 12h UTC
 Launch vehicle: Russian Cosmos rocket of PO Polyot (OHB)
 Science contacts: Hermann Lühr (magnetics) and Ch. Reigber (mission, gravity)
Lifetime: 5 years
 Notes: Contact Richard Holme for information on data availability. AO expected about March 2001. CHAMP User Meeting expected at end of April, 2001.
 Additional Information

Name: SAC-C
 Sponsoring Organizations: Argentina. International participation includes NASA (launch, magnetometer) and Denmark (Magnetic mapping package).
 Altitude: 702 km circular, sun synchronous
 Orbit: Repeating with a 5 day period, active control of orbit.
 Magnetic instrumentation: 8 m boom w. triaxial fluxgate, helium scalar
 Spacecraft fields: 1 nT at scalar, 2 nT at vector
 Orientation: non-magnetic star camera (arc second level)
 Other instrumentation: GOLPE GPS experiment (occultation and surface reflection), 5 band imager (terrestrial and coastal zone imaging)
 Inclination: 98.22 degrees
 Local times: 10:24 AM (PST) descending node
 Launch date: Nov. 18, 2000
 Launch vehicle: Delta II (with EO-1)
 Science contact: Nils Olsen , John LaBrecque, or Ed Smith
 Lifetime: 4 years
 Notes: Boom successfully deployed on Jan. 23, 2001. Both magnetometers appear to be healthy and the calibration process is continuing.
Additional Information (Spanish)
Additional Information (English)

Name: Sunsat
 Sponsoring Organization: University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
 Altitude: 600+ to 850 km, elliptic
 Magnetic instrumentation: 4 m boom w. triaxial fluxgate (1 Hz)
 Orientation: GPS, star imager (>50 arc seconds) & magnetometer
 Other instrumentation: High resolution camera for Landsat style imaging
 Inclination: 96 degrees, polar
 Local times: all
 Launch date: Feb 23, 1999 at 10:29:57 UTC
 Last contact: Jan. 19, 2001 at 15:22:37 UTC
 Launch vehicle: Secondary payload; 2nd state Delta 2
 Science contact: Pieter Kotze
Lifetime: 5 yrs
 Notes: A student project which flew on the same launch vehicle as Ørsted.
 Additional Information
News: A successful launch occurred after 11 attempts, a Delta II record. The boom was extended and the magnetometer produced data over Southern Africa. Stay tuned for Sunsat-2.

Name: ASTRID-2
 Sponsoring Organization: Swedish Space Corporation
 Altitude: 1000 km, circular
 Magnetic instrumentation: 0.5 m boom w. triaxial fluxgate
 Orientation: Non-magnetic star camera on a spin-stabilized craft
 Orbit determination: NORAD
 Other instrumentation: Particles, electric fields, magnetic torquer
 Inclination: high, 83 degrees
 Local times: ?
 Launch date: Dec. 10, 1998
 Contact lost: July 24, 1999
 Launch vehicle and place: Russian Kosmos 3M; Plesetsk, Russia
 Science contact: Lars Bylander
Other contacts: Therese Moreto, DMI; Fritz Primdahl, DTU
Additional Information
News: Boom successfully deployed, spin rate (9 rpm) too fast for use of star camera. Magnetic field data is currently being evaluated by Fritz Primdahl and Jose Merayo of DTU. A preliminary version of their report is available.

 Sponsoring Organization: CSIRO, Australia
 Altitude: 800 km circular
 Magnetic instrumentation: 2.5 m boom w. triaxial fluxgate
 Orientation: 20 arc seconds using star camera, GPS for position
 Other instrumentation: particles, communications, space physics, remote sensing, engineering
 Inclination: 98.6 degrees
 Local times: sun-synchronous
 Launch date: November, 2001, the centennial of the Australian Federation
 Launch vehicle: Piggyback launch onboard a Japanese rocket.
 Science contact: Charles Barton
Other contact: Brian Embleton
Lifetime: ?
Additional Information

Name: DMSP Block 5
 Sponsoring Organization: U.S. Military
 Altitude: 840 km
 Magnetic Instrumentation: triaxial fluxgate magnetometer (low thermal drift), body-mounted (F12-F14) or on a 5 m Astromast boom (F15+)
 Orientation: Uncertain. Probably between 0.1 to 0.5 degrees because of incomplete knowledge of orientation of boom relative to spacecraft body and possible boom flexure. Imaging instrument on spacecraft body has 0.01 degree pointing requirement
 Other instrumentation: Imaging
 Inclination: high, near polar
 Positioning: 400 m RMS spherical error (post-processed by NOAA at Boulder, Colorado)
 Local times: 10 AM/10 PM or Dawn/Dusk
 Launch date: F15 was launched on Dec. 12, 1999. F16 will be launched in August of 2000. F17 and F19 will follow at 3 year intervals as needed. F15 has been built and ready since 1995.
 Launch vehicle: Titan II
 Science contact: Frederick J. Rich , John Quinn
Lifetime: 3 to 5 years
 News: The calibration of F15 is being done by Frederick J. Rich . John Quinn will subsequently merge the ephemeris and magnetic field data sets and perform an evaluation of the data. The data will then become publicly available.
Additional Information

 Sponsoring Organization: U.S. Military and civilian
 Altitude: 833 km
 Magnetic Instrumentation: Boom w. absolute scalar & triaxial fluxgate
 Orientation: 1 arc minute or better
 Other instrumentation: weather imaging, space weather, Digital Ion Drift Meter
Inclination: high, near polar
 Local times: 10 AM/10 PM or Dawn/Dusk
 Launch date: 2008 (launch as needed, 2 up at all times to 2020)
 Science contact: John Quinn
Lifetime: 5 years
Additional Information

Name: SACI-1
 Sponsoring Organizations: INPE (Federal Government of Brazil), Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Agencia Espacial Brasileira (AEB)
 Altitude: 750 km, circular
 Launch vehicle: Piggyback on a large satellite (China Brazil Earth Resources Satellite). Launched on a Chinese rocket.
 Magnetic Instrumentation: 0.5 m boom with triaxial ring core fluxgate (magnetometer built at UCLA, digital electronics at INPE)
 Orientation: 1 degree, spin-stabilized, 6-10 rpm
 Other instrumentation: cosmic rays, plasma bubbles, airglow photometer
 Inclination: 98.5 degrees
 Local times: 10 AM/10 PM, sun-synchronous
 Launch date: Oct. 14, 1999
 Science contact: Nalin Babulal Trivedi
Project Manager: Angelo Neri
Lifetime: 18 months
 Reference: Geomagnetic field measurements on a polar microsatellite SACI-1, N.B. Trivedi et al., in review for Advances in Space Research
 News: The satellite was successfully launched but did not respond to any ground commands nor did it send any data.

Name: Geospace Electrodynamic Connections (GEC)
 Sponsoring Organization: NASA
 Altitude: strongly elliptical (200 to 2000 km, with dips to as low as 130 km in the auroral region)
 Configuration: 4 satellites organized initially as 'pearls on a string'. Three-axis stabilized, bullet-shaped, 256 kg of hydrazine, four thrusters, 3000 m/s of Delta V
 Magnetic instrumentation: A search-coil magnetometer and a triaxial fluxgate on a boom hanging from the aft payload module.
 Orientation accuracy: unknown, probably some minutes of arc
 Other instrumentation: electric field, plasma, particles
 Inclination: 83 degrees, near polar
 Local times: all, initially 1:36 AM ascending node
 Launch date: 2007
 Lifetime: 2 years
Additional Information (currently in science definition phase)
 Science/mission contact: Joseph M. Grebowsky or Jan Sojka

 Sponsoring Organization: CNES
 Altitude: Near-earth
 Magnetic instrumentation: boom with triaxial CSC fluxgate and total field Overhauser
 Orientation accuracy: Low-magnetic star camera (arc second level)
 Other instrumentation: GPS
 Inclination: low
 Launch vehicle: secondary payload on an Arianne
 Launch date: 2005
 Lifetime: 2 years
 Contacts: Coordinator: Pascal Tarits Science: Gauthier Hulot Instrumentation: Michel Menvielle

Name: Demeter
 Sponsoring Organization: CNES,LPCE,IPGP,CETP,CESR
 Altitude: 800 km
 Magnetic instrumentation: 3 axis search-coil magnetometerr
 Other instrumentation: 4 electrical sensors, Langmuir probe, plasma analyzer, particle detector
 Inclination: near polar orbit
 Local times: ?
 Launch vehicle: Ariane 5 or PSLV
 Launch date: 2002
 Lifetime: 2 years
 Objectives: Study of ionospheric disturbances associated with natural geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or tsunamis. A secondary objective is to study the electromagnetic disturbances of the planet linked with human activity.
 Contacts: Michel Parrot, LPCE, Orleans, France

Name: swarm: a Danish Small-Satellite Mission to Observe the Dynamics of the Earth's Magnetic Field
 Sponsoring Organization: ESA, Denmark
 Altitude: Circular, preferably below 500 km
 Configuration: Multiple satellites in near-polar orbits and a single satellite in a near-equatorial orbit. The satellites in near-polar oribts have slightly different inclinations.
 Magnetic instrumentation: Each satellite has a CSC vector magnetometer and an Overhauser magnetometer. A flexible cable boom reduces magnetic field noise.
 Orientation: Non-magnetic star cameras (triple camera heads) and GPS receivers, resulting in an overall resolution in the 0.1 nT/1 arcsec range.
 Inclination: high, near polar and low, near equatorial
 Local times: Different satellites have different drift rates, resulting in a differential local time evolution
 Launch date: 2003 (Solar Minimum)
 Science contacts: Fritz Primdahl , Nils Olsen and Eigil Friis-Christensen
Lifetime: 3 years

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Last modified on May 15, 2001