The European Space Agency has successfully launched its mission to study how Earth's magnetic field protects us against cosmic radiation onboard a Russian rocket. And then, the awesome thing above happened: the payload divided into three in a cool manoeuvre worthy of a (good) Ridley Scott sci-fi movie.
ESA's three-satellite Swarm constellation was lofted into a near-polar orbit by a Russian Rockot launcher this afternoon. For four years, it will monitor Earth's magnetic field, from the depth of our planet's core to the heights of its upper atmosphere.
The Swarm satellites will give us unprecedented insights into the complex workings of the magnetic shield that protects our biosphere from charged particles and cosmic radiation. They will perform precise measurements to evaluate its current weakening and understand how it contributes to global change.