The objective of the Swarm mission is to provide the best ever survey of the geomagnetic field and its temporal evolution, in order to gain new insights into the Earth system by improving our understanding of the Earth’s interior and its environment. The mission is scheduled for launch in 2013. It comprises of three identical satellites, two of which will fly side-by-side at low altitude (initial altitude is 450 km), and a third higher satellite at 530 km altitude.
High-precision and -resolution measurements of the strength, direction and variation of the magnetic field, complemented by precise navigation, accelerometer, electric field, plasma density and temperature measurements, will provide necessary observations to separate and model the various sources of the geomagnetic field. This results in a unique “view” inside the Earth from space. Swarm will be as well suitable to investigate processes of the thermosphere, ionosphere and the gravitational field. In addition, practical applications in many different areas, such as space weather, navigation, or resource exploration, benefit from Swarm.
The mission has been proposed to ESA by a European consortium led by DTU Space. DTU Space is heavily involved in the preparation for the Swarm mission, both regarding payload (DTU Space has delivered the Stellar Compasses and Vector Magnetometers) and advanced data processing. DTU is also leading a consortium that will provide "Level 2" data products, like advanced magnetic field models, models of the electrical conductivity of the mantle, and products related to space weather, to the scientific community.