Institutet för rymdfysik


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ASPERA-3 and Mars Express

Mars Express and Mars
Mars Express satellite (Picture: ESA)

Mars Express is the first European mission to Mars. It was launched on a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on 2 June 2003 at 19.45 CEST (Central European Summer Time). The spacecraft was injected into an elliptical polar orbit around Mars at Christmas 2003. The Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) has provided one of the 7 instruments on the spacecraft. IRF's instrument ASPERA-3 studies how the solar wind affects the Martian upper atmosphere. ASPERA-3 comprises five sensors to measure electrons, ions, and energetic neutral atoms (ENA). ASPERA-3 has performed the first-ever ENA measurements at another planet in the low energy range (100 eV-10 keV). ASPERA-3 (Analyser of Space Plasmas and Energetic Atoms) is made up of two components:
* the Main Unit, comprising the mechanical scanner, digital processing unit (DPU), Neutral Particle Imager (NPI), Neutral Particle Detector (NPD) and Electron Spectrometer (ELS), and
* the Ion Mass Analyser (IMA), mounted separately.


2 June 2003, 19.45 CEST



IRF instrument:

ASPERA-3, Energetic Neutral Atoms Analyser (PI: Assoc. Prof. Mats Holmström)


Assoc. Prof. Mats Holmström, Principal Investigator, mats.holmstrom*, tel. +46-980-79186
Rick McGregor, Information Officer, rick.mcgregor*, tel. +46-980-79178

Satellite homepage:

ESA's Mars Express homepage

IRF's ASPERA-3 portal:

ASPERA-3 - detailed information

Other links:

External links:

Updated by Webmaster*