Space weather and space safety

 

 

 

This research area is focuses on activities and projects aimed at identifying, understanding, monitoring, and mitigating threats originating from space against planet Earth, life, human technology and infrastructure. The main Space Safety threats are considered to be: Space weather, Near-Earth Objects (asteroids and comets), man-made space objects (satellites and debris) and particle radiation.

 

Space weather
Space weather describes the dynamic conditions in the Earth's outer space environment, driven by the activity of the Sun. Violent eruptions on the Sun create space weather effects which can disturb, degrade or in the worst case destroy systems in both space and on the ground such as communications, navigation and power supply.

Near-Earth Objects
Larger Near-Earth Objects hitting Earth – either asteroids or comets – can survive the extreme heat generated when passing the atmosphere and create damage or destruction on the ground. This can happen either by a mid-air-explosion for smaller objects or a direct impact for larger objects. Large impacts are very rare, but have a potentially planet-wide devastating effect.

Man-made space objects
Currently the number of man-made space objects in orbit around Earth is increasing – both operational satellites, but also larger and smaller pieces of space debris. This development poses an ever-increasing threat to our space-based infrastructure and our free, unhindered access to space which is essential for our modern society.

Particle radiation
Earth is continuously bombarded by charged particles from space. Some of these particles come from the Sun, whereas particles with extremely high energy originate from outside our Solar System: so-called Cosmic Rays. This particle radiation can affect space-based systems, but also have consequences for both humans and equipment (especially electronics) during high altitude flights in the polar regions.

Currently most activities and projects at the Geomagnetism and Geospace Division at DTU Space are related to space weather but several projects addressing the other threat areas are underway.

 

Ongoing projects include: 

 

SWADO: Space Weather Forecasting for Arctic Defence Operations

Funding: FMI DK

Space weather describes the dynamic conditions in the Earth's outer space environment, in the same way that "weather" refer to conditions in Earth's lower atmosphere. Space weather includes events on the sun, in the solar wind, in near-Earth space and in our upper atmosphere (the ionosphere). Space weather affects both communication, positioning and monitoring assets, and the SWADO project will investigate the possibility of establishing an operational space weather forecasting service for the Arctic with a special focus on Greenland.

A key element is to examine how observations from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as the American GPS and the European Galileo system can be used in conjunction with geomagnetic observations to provide better estimates of ionospheric parameters. DTU Space already has a network of 18 magnetometer stations along the coast of Greenland, and this infrastructure will be upgraded and supplemented with new magnetometer stations as well as six new GNSS stations equipped with advanced receivers, specially designed for ionospheric parameter monitoring. SWADO is a collaboration between DTU Space, Elcanic A/S, and RadioLab Consulting.

 

SWADO

 

SWAN: Space Weather impact for Arctic Navigation

Funding: 

The main objective of the ESA SWAN (Space Weather impact for Arctic Navigation) project is to develop and demonstrate new techniques, with the purpose of improving the current state-of-the-art Space Weather forecasting techniques and products related to Space Weather effects for Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) systems in the Arctic, with particular attention to the Greenland area. For this purpose, the activity is investigating and testing innovative methods for monitoring and predicting Space Weather impacts on PNT in this area. The investigation includes Machine Learning techniques as well as new combinations of ground based and satellite based sensor data The activity is developing an experimentation testbed, in which new or enhanced forecast Space Weather products are being evaluated. This work has been started from the current state-of-art and takes advantage of work done under the ESA SSA programme and other previous ESA activities in the region. The project is developed in collaboration with Norwegian Mapping Authority (NMA, Kartverket), ONERA in France, CCORE in Canada and Spire in England.

SWESNET: Space Weather Service Network 

Funding: ESA Space Safety Programme

The Space Weather Service Network in the ESA Space Safety programme consists of five expert service centres that provides crucial information on the space weather situation. The network is divided into 5 different expert service centres: Solar Weather, Heliospheric Weather, Space Radiation, Ionospheric Weather and Geomagnetic Conditions. DTU Space are the coordinator for the Geomagnetic expert service center, a center that currently consists of nine expert groups from different countries in Europe, that provides products related to near-Earth space weather. DTU Space contributes with products such as storm risk forecast, geomagnetic data, geomagnetic indices (K index, PCN index), and polar electrojet monitoring over Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
Read more  

S2 Center

Funding: 

This area focuses on activities and projects aimed at identifying, understanding, monitoring and mitigating threats originating from space against planet Earth, life, human technology and infrastructure. Space Safety threats are considered to be:

  • Space weather
  • Near-Earth Objects (asteroids and comets)
  • Man-made space objects (satellites and debris)
  • Particle radiation

Currently most activities and projects at DTU are related to space weather but several projects addressing the other threat areas are underway.

The goal of Space Safety at DTU is to strengthen and coordinate DTU Space research within the Space Safety threat areas with the purpose to increase our ability to 1) join and/or lead projects within Space Safety both nationally and internationally; and 2) act as the main knowledge-base in Denmark to give advise on Space Safety related mattes to government bodies, organisations and private industry.

 

 

Space Safety

 

 

TOTEM:

Funding: