Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sophisticated Space Weather Tool Under Development

Date:
February 6, 2007
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
If a satellite encounters high-energy particles or other "space weather" phenomena before ground controllers can take action, on-board electronics could be disrupted, scientific instruments damaged and, in very rare and extreme cases, spacecraft may even be lost. A sophisticated tool in development at ESOC promises to provide effective monitoring and forecasting for any type of mission.

Space Weather data are vital to characterise solar activity and permit taking action to avoid damage to spacecraft in orbit. This image shows actual SEISOP data showing excess high-energy particles coming from solar activity, superimposed against an image of the solar activity, which occurred in December 2003.
Credit: Image courtesy of European Space Agency

If a satellite encounters high-energy particles or other 'space weather' phenomena before ground controllers can take action, on-board electronics could be disrupted, scientific instruments damaged and, in very rare and extreme cases, spacecraft may even be lost. A sophisticated tool in development at ESOC promises to provide effective monitoring and forecasting for any type of mission.

Related Articles


But since early 2005, SEISOP (Space Environment Information System for Operations), a space-weather monitoring and forecasting tool under development at ESA's Space Operations Centre, has been successfully providing near-real-time space weather reports for Integral, ESA's gamma-ray space observatory.

Solar activity influences the entire solar system in several ways, including generating streams of fast-moving energetic particles and sudden bursts of damaging X-rays during solar flares.

Energetic cosmic rays from elsewhere in the galaxy also penetrate into our solar system. These phenomena are some of the major sources of abnormal behaviour and aging for spacecraft and their sensitive scientific instruments.

Space Weather affects spacecraft in many ways

Developed in collaboration with the ESA Space Weather Applications Pilot Project with funding from the Portuguese Task Force at ESA, SEISOP comprises a database of spacecraft health records and worldwide space weather observations, combined with sophisticated software applications that provide reporting, warning, forecasting and history tracking for the Integral Flight Control Team.

"Space weather affects spacecraft in many ways. There can be random lost data, changes in orbit dynamics and reduced quality of science data. Therefore, real-time updates are essential when deciding how long to shut down instruments during hazardous periods," says Alessandro Donati, Head of ESOC's Advanced Mission Concepts and Technologies office.

ESA, NASA, NOAA, other sources feed data to SEISOP

Some of the space weather data is gathered by ESA, NASA and NOAA (US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) spacecraft, while other observations come from numerous ground-based institutes and facilities. SEISOP is a member of SWENET, the Space Weather European Network.

SEISOP enables mission controllers to predict when they should shut down instruments such as star trackers, place systems into 'safe mode' or take other action to protect sensitive on-board electronics and scientific sensors.

While some instruments are equipped to automatically shut down during adverse periods, not all are and bringing an instrument back into service after an automated shut down is time consuming. Further, it has until now been difficult to know when radiation had fallen to safe levels, once an event like a solar flare had taken place.

SEISOP to enter operational development

In 2007, SEISOP will enter operational development aimed at providing all ESA missions with the same vital space weather updates. "We expect to start work this year to create the final operational version. SEISOP can potentially provide warning services not only within ESA but also to space agencies worldwide, since space weather can affect any spacecraft," says Donati.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Sophisticated Space Weather Tool Under Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070204111537.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2007, February 6). Sophisticated Space Weather Tool Under Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070204111537.htm
European Space Agency. "Sophisticated Space Weather Tool Under Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070204111537.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Italy's first female astronaut safely docks with the International Space Station, according to NASA. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Multi-National Crew Safely Docks at Space Station

Multi-National Crew Safely Docks at Space Station

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 24, 2014) A Russian Soyuz rocket delivers a multi-national trio to the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Soyuz Docks With Int'l Space Station

Raw: Soyuz Docks With Int'l Space Station

AP (Nov. 23, 2014) A Russian capsule carrying three astronauts from Russia, the United States and Italy has arrived at the International Space Station. (Nov. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins