Space agency details solar wind flight

September 24, 1999

Details of Cluster II, the rerun of the European Space Agency's ill-fated mission to study the interaction between Sun and Earth, were revealed this week.

The mission involves four identical spacecraft on an eccentric orbit around the earth.

UK scientists are the principal investigators for three of the 11 experiments to study the behaviour of charged particles and electric and magnetic fields as the solar wind slams into earth's magnetosphere.

The spacecraft are scheduled for launch next summer from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kaz-akhstan on board two Soyuz rockets. The original project ended prematurely with the destruction of Ariane 5 in June 1996.

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