The four CLUSTER satellites were launched in July and August 2000 by two Soyuz launchers for a two years mission. The mission was granted an extension of three extra years operation in early 2002, then four more years in 2005. The mission was forseen to be ended in 2009. On October 2 2009, ESA's Science Programme Committee approuved the extension of CLUSTER mission operations until December 31 2012. On November 19 2010, ESA's Science Programme Committee approuved the extension of CLUSTER mission operations until December 31 2014, extension subjected to a mid-term review in 2012.
The ESA CLUSTER mission studies the interactions between the solar wind and the terrestrial magnetosphere.
IRAP Responsible : I. Dandouras
At first the instruments on board the four CLUSTER satellites were provided by selected scientific teams and funded by their space agencies. In the CLUSTER case 3 out of the 11 instruments of each satellite were funded by the CNES. After the failure of the launch of the first four CLUSTER satellites in 1996 during the inaugural flight of Ariane 5, the new CLUSTER flight models, identical to the first ones, were developed by the scientific institutes under ESA contracts.
CESR - IRAP contribution :
The CESR then IRAP staff developed two ion spectrometers (CODIF and HIA) embedded in each of the four satellites of the ESA's Cluster Mission. Objective: To measure the full distribution functions of the ions of different regions crossed, with simultaneous determination of their composition.
Further details :
- ESA Web Portal : http://sci.esa.int/cluster/
- CNES Website : http://smsc.cnes.fr/CLUSTER/Fr/
- IRAP Website :
- Research Topics : Space Plasmas, Fundamental Processes / Sun and Heliosphere
- Press Release : First detection of a plasmaspheric wind in the Earth's magnetosphere