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Swarm-A, -B, and -C

Jump to: Mission Objectives, Mission Instrumentation, Mission Parameters, Additional Information

Mission Photos:

Swarm satellite
Courtesy of ESA

Mission Objectives:

Swarm consists of three identical satellites and is ESA’s first constellation of Earth observation satellites. Swarm will provide a survey of the Earth's geomagnetic field and its temporal evolution.

SLR will be used to support to precise orbit determination (main instrument for POD is GPS receiver). Furthermore, SLR will be used to calibrate the GPS receiver system in the initial phase of the mission and to maintain external reference afterwards.

Mission Instrumentation:

The Swarm satellites will have the following positioning instrumentation onboard:

  • Absolute Scalar Magnetometer (ASM)
  • Vector Field Magnetometer (VFM)
  • Electrical Field Instrument (EFI)
  • Accelerometer (ACC)
  • Laser Retro Reflector (LRR)
  • GPS Receiver
Mission Parameters:
Swarm-A Swarm-B Swarm-C
Sponsor: ESA ESA ESA
Expected Life: 4 years 4 years 4 years
Primary Applications: Geomagnetic field mapping Geomagnetic field mapping Geomagnetic field mapping
COSPAR ID: 1306702 1306701 1306703
SIC Code: 8007 8008 8009
Satellite Catalog (NORAD) Number: 39452 39451 39453
Launch Date: Nov-22-2013 Nov-22-2013 Nov-22-2013
RRA Size: 5 cm diameter 5 cm diameter 5 cm diameter
RRA Shape: rectangular rectangular rectangular
Reflectors: 4 corner cubes 4 corner cubes 4 corner cubes
Orbit: polar polar polar
Orbital Period: 5618 sec 5618 sec 5795 sec
Inclination: 88.35 degrees 88.35 degrees 88.95 degrees
Eccentricity: 0.00139 0.00139 0.00139
Altitude: 460 km 460 km 530 km
NPT Bin Size: 5 sec 5 sec 5 sec

Additional Information:

Web sites:


  • Meyer, U., Sosnica, K., Arnold D., Dahle, C., Thaller, D., Dach, R., and A. Jäggi (2019). "SLR, GRACE and Swarm Gravity Field Determination and Combination", Remote Sensing, 11(8), 956, DOI: 10.3390/rs11080956
  • Montenbruck O., Hackel, S., van den Ijssel, J., and D. Arnold (2018), "Reduced dynamic and kinematic precise orbit determination for the Swarm mission from 4 years of GPS tracking", GPS Solutions, 22(3), UNSP79, DOI: 10.1007/s10291-018-0746-6
  • Van den Ijssel, J., Encarnacao, J., Doornbos, E., and P. Visser (2015), "Precise science orbits for the Swarm satellite constellation", Adv. Space Res., 56(6), 1042-1055, DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2015.06.002