Astrid-2 was launched on 10 December 1998 from Plesetsk in Russia and was the second ground-breaking Swedish low-budget micro-satellite project dedicated to auroral research. The satellite was developed by the Swedish Space Corporation in Solna.

IRF staff and the satellite Astrid-2. Photo: IRF

With a payload of ten kilograms, Astrid-2 managed to collect large amounts of research data from measurements of different fields in the auroral zone, electron density and distribution functions for electrons and ions, imaging of the aurora in ultraviolet light and measurements of how the atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet sunlight.

IRF contributed two instruments:

  • MEDUSA (Miniaturized Electrostatic DUAL-TOPHAT Spherical Analyzer), which consisted of a combined electron- and ion spectrometer. Principal Investigators for MEDUSA were Olle Norberg at IRF in Kiruna and David Winningham at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, USA.
  • PIA (Photometers for Imaging the Aurora), which consisted of three photometers devoted to imaging aurora using the satellite’s rotation and measuring atmospheric absortion. Principal Investigators for PIA were Olle Norberg at IRF in Kiruna and Hans Lauche at Max Planck Institute for Aeronomy, Lindau, Germany.
    Data reception and control of the satellite took place from a ground-station at the Swedish Space Corporation in Solna. Contact with the satellite was lost on 24 July 1999 when the onboard command receiver ceased functioning.

In operation:
10 December 1998 – 24 July 1999.

Created by Annelie Klint Nilsson at

Last modified by Annelie Klint Nilsson at