Graphic image of satellites
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Video

Swarm mission to map Earth's magnetism

The Swarm mission to map the Earth's global magnetic field in unprecedented detail has launched from Russia.

The trio of European Space Agency (Esa) satellites left the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 12:02 GMT, riding a Rockot vehicle.

They were deployed at an altitude of 490km, in a polar orbit, shortly after 13:30 GMT.

Swarm's data should help scientists understand better how the field is generated, and why it appears to be weakening.

Go to next video: Satellites launch to map magnetism