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Transionospheric Radio Link Services

Ionospheric disturbances, such as scintillation, are the most important factor influencing signal propagation between ground- and space-based systems, and also between different space-based systems. For example, given the dependence of much of our contemporary technological infrastructure upon GNSS systems, the inherent vulnerability of that system to ionospheric disturbances is a major risk area in need of coherent systems to address it.

 ▶  Near real-time TEC maps Provides near real-time TEC maps.
 ▶  Forecast TEC maps Provides forecasted TEC maps.
 ▶  Quality assessment of ionospheric correction Provides information on whether standard corrections to GNSS signal are applicable.
 ▶  Near real-time ionospheric scintillation maps Provides near real-time estimates of the scintillation maps.
 ▶  Monitoring and forecast of ionospheric disturbances Provides estimates of the occurrence risk of ionospheric disturbances.

Transionospheric Radio Link Background

Ionospheric processes cover a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. Spatial effects can be found with a range of dimensions from metre level (plasma turbulence) to global phenomena (ionospheric storms).

Temporal effects also cover a wide range from 0.1 seconds (radio scintillations) to years (solar cycle response). Different ionospheric effects impact the functionality of radio systems in different application areas. For example, the performance parameters of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) of accuracy, availability, continuity and integrity, are impacted in different ways:

  1. large scale moving ionisation fronts may threaten Safety of Life (SoL) applications via degradation of integrity
  2. medium size Travelling Ionospheric Disturbances (TIDs) may reduce the accuracy of GNSS reference networks and
  3. small scale irregularities may cause significant carrier phase, and signal amplitude fluctuations which cause problems in continuity and availability of GNSS signals.

Depending on the user's needs, different service products and related performance requirements have to be taken into account.

Galileo constellation (© ESA - P. Carril)
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