Magion History

MAGION is a name of the serial of small MAGnetospheric and IONospheric satellites manufactured in Czech Republic to be launched as Russian scientific S/C hitch-hikers. These satellites are designed to perform measurements of space plasma parameters by a satellite/subsatellite pair simultaneously in two points which are not far from each other. These satellites are also intended to perform diagnostic researches in the region of actively injecting complex mounted on the main S/C.

The history of the MAGION satellites development spings to the middle of seventieth, when in the frame of the INTERCOSMOS space programme there were started the development of the first MAGION S/C, which was launched into the orbit in the pair with the S/C INTERCOSMOS-18 in 1978.

SpacecraftLaunch dateWeightPerigeeApogeeStabilization
Magion 124.10.197815 kg406 km768 kmmagnetic field
Magion 228.09.198952 kg500 km2500 kmmagnetic field
Magion 318.12.199152 kg438 km3070 kmmagnetic field
Magion 403.08.199559 kg1 000 km 198 000 km spin
Magion 529.08.199664 kg1 000 km 20 000 km spin

1. Magion 1
2. Magion 2
3. Magion 3

Magion 1

MAGION-1 MAGION-1 was launched as a part of the Interkosmos-18 experiment and separated from this parent spacecraft on November 14, 1978, with the aim of studying the spatial structure of ELF-VLF phenomena using simultaneous measurements of the two near-spaced satellites. The MAGION-1 experiment went on for almost three years, till the decay date of September 10, 1981.
Both the satellite and subsatellite were launched into orbit by a single vehicle. The separation and activation of MAGION-1 were executed after Interkosmos 18 had been in orbit for three weeks when all the satellite systems had been tested and switched on as part of routine operations. A remote - control (telecommand) spring mechanism imparted an initial relative velocity of 0.2 m/s to MAGION-1 in the direction of the orbital velocity vector. This meant that the satellite and subsatellite drew away from each other at a rate of approximately 60 km per day.
Initial orbital elements: perigee 406km, apogee 764km, inclination 82.96deg., period 96.4min.
MAGION-1 subsatellite had the hape of a prizm with dimentions of 300x300x160mm, from which the individual sensors are aerials protruded. The surface finish of the satellite body was designed with regurd to passive temperature control. The weight of the subsatellite without the separation mechanism was 15kg.

MAGION-1 was equipped with the following main systems:


Magion 2

MAGION-2 MAGION-2 S/C was manufactured as the subsatellite of the ACTIVE S/C (INTERCOSMOS-24) and as the first subsatellite of a series of in- ternational scientific projects ACTIVE, APEX, INTERBALL.
As opposed to the MAGION-1 this S/C series with weight up to 65 kg has the form of a simmetrical polyhedron, has a set of folding booms for sensors , has digital system of data collection and has a gasjet propulsion en- gine. The scientific goal of the subsatellite of the ACTIVE project was to investigate space structure of physical phenomena which accom- pany plasma injection and to investigate powerful ULF emission into the magnetosphere as in a near (up to 10 km) zone , as well as in middle and far zones of the main S/C on which active injecting devices were mounted.
   Key ACTIVE mission data

   Launch date           September 28, 1989
   Separation date       October 2, 1989
   Orbits:               apogee 2500km
                         perigee 500km
                         inclination 83deg.
MAGION-2 scientific payload:

Magion 3

MAGION-3 MAGION-3 S/C was manufactured as the subsatellite of the APEX S/C. The APEX project had the following primary objectives:
  1. Simulation and initiation of aurora and radio frequency radiation in the auroral area.
  2. Study of the dinamics of modulated beams and plasmoids in the near - earth plasma.
  3. Study of the nature of electrodinamic relationship of electromagnetic waves in magnetosphere and ionosphere.
  4. Determination of radio emission characteristics of modulated beams of charged particles and plasmoids.
  5. Search for non-linear wave structures of the electromagnetic soliton type in disturbed environment.

    MAGION-3 scientific payload was almost the same as for MAGION-2.

   Key APEX mission data
   Launch date           December 18, 1991
   Separation date       December 28, 1991
   Orbits:               apogee 3000km
                         perigee 400km
                         inclination 83deg.

MAGION-4 and MAGION-5 spacecraft were designed as part of INTERBALL project. MAGION-4 was launched together with Tail Probe main spacecraft in August 02, 1995, MAGION-5 together with Auroral Probe in August 29, 1996.

Some other pictures