Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Sophisticated ESA space weather tool under development

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.
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.

“SEISOP can potentially provide warning services to space agencies worldwide, since space weather can affect any spacecraft.”

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.

Bernhard Von Weyhe | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: ESA SEISOP SOLAR spacecraft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>