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Fraser
2005-Jul-14, 04:55 PM
SUMMARY: The European Space Agency's fleet of 4 Cluster spacecraft put a little more distance between each other, during a difficult repositioning maneuver completed this week. Three of the spacecraft were separated to 10,000 km from each other, with the fourth moving 1,000 km away from the third. By shifting the distance of the spacecraft, from 100 km to 5,000 km, and now 10,000 km, scientists are able to study the Earth's magnetic field at different scales. This maneuver also marks the fleet's fifth year of operation.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/cluster_spacecraft_greatest_seperation.html)

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

Eric Vaxxine
2005-Jul-15, 04:20 PM
I didn't know about this project at all. I need to get out more.

Do they only have a certain amount of fuel for this mission? Are they re-fuelable, Solar powered?


Lights over Phoenix ...etc etc :lol:

dave_f
2005-Jul-15, 06:49 PM
Originally posted by Eric Vaxxine@Jul 15 2005, 11:20 AM
I didn't know about this project at all. I need to get out more.

Do they only have a certain amount of fuel for this mission? Are they re-fuelable, Solar powered?


Lights over Phoenix ...etc etc :lol:
Neither did I... :ph34r:

On top of that I am usually on top of these sort of things. ;)

I love seeing telescopic observations... this definately lifts the shroud over vague theory. Projects like this are very beneficial towards observational science.

aeolus
2005-Jul-15, 08:56 PM
No doubt they have a limited amount of propellant to manoever around/ do corrective procedures like other sats. There's usually plenty on board, though, because they can't be refueled once they're up there. Things like this are taken into consideration when designing the spacecraft.

Kinda like building a house. You make sure you leave yourself enough space and room incase the kid turns out to be triplets. :)

Eric Vaxxine
2005-Jul-18, 08:21 AM
I can imagine half a dozen probes, 1000's of km's apart setting off to explore the cosmos.

aeolus
2005-Jul-18, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by Eric Vaxxine@Jul 18 2005, 08:21 AM
I can imagine half a dozen probes, 1000's of km's apart setting off to explore the cosmos.
These probes aren't going to be used for such activities. They're sticking around Earth, here, to monitor and analyze the dynamic's of the magnetosphere.

It would be a cool sight if it happened, though; a sort of interplanetary convoy.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2005-Jul-24, 09:31 AM
Here is more info on them
http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/in...fobjectid=31258 (http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=31258)
The aim of the Cluster mission is to study small-scale structures of the magnetosphere and its environment in three dimensions. To achieve this, Cluster is constituted of four identical spacecraft that will flight in a tetrahedral configuration.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/ESA6VTTM5JC_index_0.html
Data from the European ESA experiments on Cluster clearly showed that gusts in the solar wind were causing the magnetosphere to balloon in and out. These rapid fluctuations in size meant that the Cluster spacecraft were alternately inside and outside Earth’s magnetic field. For the first time, scientists were able to receive data simultaneously from both sides of the magnetopause - something that is only possible with a multi-spacecraft mission.


they also have Double Star - a joint Chinese and European mission.
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMUX5WO4HD_index_0.html
Seven instruments on Double Star are identical to those currently flying on the four Cluster spacecraft. Conducting joint studies with similar instruments on Cluster and Double Star should increase the overall scientific return from both missions. Launched at Xichang and Taiyuan, China.

Philippe Escoubet
2005-Aug-15, 01:57 PM
Nice to see that you are interested in our last constellation manoeuvres with Cluster.

The four Cluster spacecraft cannot be re-fuelled since they are too far away from Earth, closer distance 25000 km.

We have then put at launch 650 kg of fuel in each spacecraft. This is about half of the spacecraft mass. We use it to reach the nominal orbit and change the separation distances between the spacecraft (5 times so far, between 100 and 10000 km).

The spacecraft carry scientific instruments that are powered with solar panels and batteries during eclises.

For Cluster we have four spacecraft but future projects are beeing studied with 7-12 probes.