GSP Web Content List

Space Weather Forecasting with Almost Any Spacecraft
09 December 2016
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Space weather events happen on a regular basis and refer to changes in the earth's ionosphere, magnetosphere and thermosphere that are mainly caused by the sun. This solar influence ranges from solar eruptions to geomagnetic storms. Events of a certain magnitude can severely affect our life on Earth as they can disrupt our telecommunication, satellite navigation and even our ground power distribution systems.

Magnetic field measurements in space contribute to our understanding of the solar–terrestrial interactions and on space weather in particular.  However, only a few dedicated satellites, such as Ulysses, Swarm, Proba 2 and Cluster, have been equipped with science class magnetometers to probe the solar influence on Earth's magnetic environment so far.

Magnetometers are frequently installed on board spacecraft, mainly for attitude sensing and sometimes for electromagnetic diagnosis. If one could exploit these magnetometers for space weather observations it would boost the amount of data available tremendously.

 

Platform Magnetometer: Hi-Rel Magnetometer FGM-A-75 from ZARM is an instrument for measuring three-dimensional magnetic fields. It is based on the fluxgate principle, using three independent ring-core sensor heads for each orthogonal axis. Mass total: <0.3 kg, size: 100 × 82 × 34 mm3. Source: http://www.zarm-technik.de/products/magnetometer/

Science Class magnetometer: a) outboard sensor, b) inboard sensor, c) boom with launch lock and hinge, d) electronics box. Mass total: 2308 g (incl. boom, harness and insulation), size of electronics box 155 x 142 x 98.6 mm3, size of one sensor ~ 67 x 67 x 42 mm3. Source: http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/doc.cfm?fobjectid=41526

 


Therefore the GSP opened a tender to investigate the possibility of using platform magnetometers (i.e., magnetometers that were not primarily intended to measure the ambient magnetic field) for space weather observations or monitoring.

One test case is the exploitation of the Lisa Pathfinder magnetometers to potentially detect the solar wind magnetic field. The study will investigate the capability of the available platform magnetometers and the possible necessary changes that would need to be made to exploit such instruments for space weather monitoring.

For more information please contact: alain.hilgers @ esa.int

 

Background information on the above-mentioned projects can be found at:

 

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Ulysses_overview

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technology/Proba_Missions/About_Proba-2

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Swarm/Introducing_Swarm

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cluster


 

Space weather events happen on a regular basis and refer to changes in the earth's ionosphere, magnetosphere and thermosphere that are mainly caused by the sun. This solar influence ranges from solar eruptions to geomagnetic storms. Events of a certain magnitude can severely affect our life on Earth as they can disrupt our telecommunication, satellite navigation and even our ground power distribution systems.

Magnetic field measurements in space contribute to our understanding of the solar–terrestrial interactions and on space weather in particular.  However, only a few dedicated satellites, such as Ulysses, Swarm, Proba 2 and Cluster, have been equipped with science class magnetometers to probe the solar influence on Earth's magnetic environment so far.

Magnetometers are frequently installed on board spacecraft, mainly for attitude sensing and sometimes for electromagnetic diagnosis. If one could exploit these magnetometers for space weather observations it would boost the amount of data available tremendously.

 

Platform Magnetometer: Hi-Rel Magnetometer FGM-A-75 from ZARM is an instrument for measuring three-dimensional magnetic fields. It is based on the fluxgate principle, using three independent ring-core sensor heads for each orthogonal axis. Mass total: <0.3 kg, size: 100 × 82 × 34 mm3. Source: http://www.zarm-technik.de/products/magnetometer/

Science Class magnetometer: a) outboard sensor, b) inboard sensor, c) boom with launch lock and hinge, d) electronics box. Mass total: 2308 g (incl. boom, harness and insulation), size of electronics box 155 x 142 x 98.6 mm3, size of one sensor ~ 67 x 67 x 42 mm3. Source: http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/doc.cfm?fobjectid=41526

 


Therefore the GSP opened a tender to investigate the possibility of using platform magnetometers (i.e., magnetometers that were not primarily intended to measure the ambient magnetic field) for space weather observations or monitoring.

One test case is the exploitation of the Lisa Pathfinder magnetometers to potentially detect the solar wind magnetic field. The study will investigate the capability of the available platform magnetometers and the possible necessary changes that would need to be made to exploit such instruments for space weather monitoring.

For more information please contact: alain.hilgers @ esa.int

 

Background information on the above-mentioned projects can be found at:

 

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Ulysses_overview

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technology/Proba_Missions/About_Proba-2

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Swarm/Introducing_Swarm

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cluster