Cluster is a European Space Agency (ESA)
project comprising four
satellites to study Earth's magnetosphere and its boundary layers. The spacecraft were first
launched from Kourou on
4 June 1996 on the first flight of the new Ariane 5 launch vehicle, but the
launch was not successful and the four spacecraft were lost.
ESA decided to build four identical replacements, which were launched in
pairs on Soyuz launchers from Baikonur on 16 July and 9 August 2000.
The orbit is 4 by 20 Earth radii with an inclination of 90 degrees, and the spacecraft
fly in formation with separation distances ranging from 100
to 10000 km.
The scientific objectives are to study the fine-structure of and small-scale
phenomena in magnetospheric boundary layers, in particular the polar cusp
and the magnetopause.
KTH is responsible for part
of the analogue electronics for the electric fields and waves instrument
(EFW), and for setting up and operating the
Data Centre which is part of the
Science Data System.
Operations are ongoing since February 2001. Thanks to the large success of the mission
with almost all instruments still operating and a continued high scientific publication
rate, ESA has extended the original 2-year mission several times - it is now planned to
end in 2009. The KTH group has a leading scientific role in the areas of auroral
particle acceleration, ULF pulsations, and ionospheric convection, but has also contributed
significantly to many other topics as can be seen in the publication list.
We have authored or co-authored a number of
Cluster related publications.
Active Spacecraft Potential Control
Cluster Ion Spectrometry
Digital Wave Processor, part of WEC
Electron Drift Instrument
Electric Fields and Waves, part of WEC
Plasma Electron And Current Experiment
Research with Adaptive Particle Imaging Detectors
Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Field Fluctuations, part of WEC
Wideband Data, part of WEC
Waves of High Frequency and Sounder for Probing of Electron Density by Relaxation,
part of WEC
Wave Experiment Consortium
Access to data (see also the individual instrument pages above):
Planning and commanding information:
For more information contact Per-Arne Lindqvist.