Space Science Reviews

, Volume 79, Issue 1, pp 11-32

First online:


  • C.P. EscoubetAffiliated withSpace Science Department of ESA/ESTEC
  • , R. SchmidtAffiliated withSpace Science Department of ESA/ESTEC
  • , M.L. GoldsteinAffiliated withLaboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics, NASA/GSFC Code 692

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The European Space Agency's Cluster programme is designed to study the small-scale spatial and temporal characteristics of the magnetospheric and near-Earth solar wind plasma. The programme is composed of four identical spacecraft which will be able to make physical measurements in three dimensions. The relative distance between the four spacecraft will be varied between 200 and 18000 km during the course of the mission. This paper provides a general overview of the scientific objectives, the configuration and the orbit of the four spacecraft and the relation of Cluster to other missions.