ESA Orbital Mission To Improve Early Warning Against Earthquakes
December 1, 2013 • 11:00AM

The main task of the "Swarm" mission which the European Space Agency launched into orbit from the Russian cosmodrome at Plesetsk, on Nov. 22, is to conduct a precise mapping of the Earth's magnetic field. This is carried out with three satellites, one on a higher altitude, monitoring the interaction between the magnetic field and outer space, the other two at a lower altitude, focussing on the more terrestrial side of that. The latter mission is expected to improve the data base for efforts to improve early warnings for earthquakes and other natural catastrophes; navigation systems used on Earth are to be improved as well.

The three satellites, which have now reached their orbital positions, were sent up on a Rockot launch vehicle. All three satellites are controlled by ESA teams at the European Space Operation Center in Darmstadt, Germany, in cooperation with two other sites, in Kiruna, Sweden, and Svalbard, Norway.