The objective of the Swarm mission is to provide the best ever survey of the geomagnetic field and its temporal evolution, and gain new insights into improving our knowledge of the Earth’s interior and climate. The Swarm concept consists of a constellation of three satellites in three different polar orbits between 400 and 550 km altitude.
High-precision and high-resolution measurements of the strength and direction of the magnetic field will be provided by each satellite. In combination, they will provide the necessary observations that are required to model various sources of the geomagnetic field. GPS receivers, an accelerometer and an electric field instrument will provide supplementary information for studying the interaction of the magnetic field with other physical quantities describing the Earth system.
MAC-04 is an electrostatic accelerometer instrument assembly designed and developed at VZLU (Výzkumný a zkušební letecký ústav, a.s. - Aeronautical Research and Test Institute), Prague, Czech Republic. EADS Astrium (as prime contractor to ESA for the Swarm mission) awarded the MAC-04 contract to VZLU in March 2008. VZLU is the lead of a MAC-04 consortium, involving 14 Czech institutions and companies. CSRC is involved in manufacturing of the flight model.
The overall objective is to measure non-gravitational perturbing accelerations (time and spatial variability), such as air drag, winds, Earth albedo (reflected solar radiation from the cloud/snow coverage and the thermal radiation of the Earth), and solar radiation pressure on the spacecraft. In-situ air density measurements together with magnetic data can be used to obtain new insights on the geomagnetic forcing of the upper atmosphere.