Astrium’s Swarm satellite trio successfully launches from Plesetsk

22 November 2013

  • Swarm satellites to perform high-precision research on Earth’s magnetic field for four years
  • Astrium is prime contractor for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Swarm research mission

The Swarm satellite mission – developed and built by Astrium, the world’s second largest space company – has been successfully launched from a Rockot launch vehicle, which carried the three magnetic-field research satellites into space from Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome (approx. 800 km north of Moscow) today at 1.02 PM CET.

The Swarm satellites were placed on their orbits approximately 92 minutes after launching.

Over a period of at least four years, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Swarm mission will measure the Earth’s magnetic field and its development with previously unattained accuracy. The findings will improve our understanding of the Earth’s interior and how it interacts with space. An improved understanding of the magnetic field also has significant practical uses.

In particular, it is anticipated that this research will ultimately contribute to more precise navigation with compasses or gyros, which can improve, for example, directional drilling in resource exploitation. In addition, it is expected to help improve space weather models.

Astrium is the prime contractor for ESA’s Swarm satellite trio. Eurockot Launch Services, an Astrium subsidiary, is responsible for the launch.

Together, pioneering excellence

Astrium is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the second in the world. It is the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.

In 2012, Astrium had a turnover over €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.

Its three business units are: Astrium Space Transportation, the European prime contractor for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration; Astrium Satellites, a leading provider of satellite system solutions, including spacecraft, ground segments, payloads and equipments; Astrium Services, the Space services partner for critical missions, providing comprehensive fixed and mobile solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, and bespoke geo-information Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of €56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.

Press contacts:

Jeremy Close
Media Relations UK
Astrium United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 1 438 77 3872
Gregory Gavroy
Astrium France
Media Relations France
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32
Ralph Heinrich
Media Relations Germany
Airbus Defence and Space Germany
Tel.: +49 89 60 73 39 71
Fax: +49 89 60 78 53 39
Francisco Lechon
Media Relations Spain
Airbus Defence and Space Spain
Tel.: +34 91 5 86 37 41
Fax: +34 91 5 86 37 82


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