Synonymous Platform Names:
HEO > Highly Elliptical Orbit
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The aim of the Cluster mission is to study small-scale structures of the
magnetosphere and its environment in three dimensions. To achieve this, Cluster
is constituted of four identical spacecraft ... that will flight in a tetrahedral
configuration. The separation distances between the spacecraft will be varied
between 600 km and 20 000 km, according to the key scientific regions.
The first Cluster mission was launched on 4 June 1996, but the launch vehicle
exploded 37 seconds into the flight.
Cluster II was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 16 July 2000
and 9 August 2000. The four satellites were put into orbit, in pairs, by two
Soyuz rockets provided by the Russian-French Starsem company. Starsem has four
shareholders - Aerospatiale, Arianespace, the Russian Space Agency and TsSKB
Samara, the manufacturer of the Soyuz vehicle.
Each of the four spacecraft carries an identical set of 11 instruments to
investigate charged particles, electrical and magnetic fields. These were built
by European and American instrument teams led by Principal Investigators.
EDI -Electron Drift Instrument
ASPOC-Active Spacecraft Potential Control experiment
STAFF -Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Field Fluctuation experiment
EFW-Electric Field and Wave experiment
DWP-Digital Wave Processing experiment
WHISPER-Waves of High frequency and Sounder for Probing of Electron density by
WBD-Wide Band Data instrument
PEACE-Plasma Electron And Current Experiment
CIS-Cluster Ion Spectrometry experiment
RAPID-Research with Adaptive Particle Imaging Detectors
Baikonur Cosmodrome, Tyuratam, Russia