Spacecraft Operation - In-orbit environment and effects forecast
The internal charging current and risk indicator for the past 8 days and a forecast for the next
24 hours provided by SaRIF for the location of the GOES-15 satellite at GEO. The internal
charging is calculated as the charging current behind 0.5 mm of Al shielding caused by
electrons from 150 keV up to 10 MeV.
The service “Spacecraft Operation - In-orbit environment and effects forecast” aims to provide an estimate for the near future of the space environment and its effects that could be experiences in regard to the operation of the spacecraft. To obtain a forecast of the space environment, the ESA Space Weather Service Network provides monitoring and forecasting of phenomena that can lead to potentially hazardous and sudden effects on spacecraft (e.g. magnetic storms, substorms, high-speed streams, solar energetic particle events, Earth-directed CMEs, meteor streams, and debris clouds). This continuous real-time monitoring and forecasting of the space weather environment provides the relevant information to take adequate decisions related to spacecraft operations to limit the impact of space weather. Real-time data allows the system to provide forecast of the effects on spacecraft operations of geomagnetic and ionospheric disturbances, as well as increased fluxes of particle radiation, meteoroids and space debris.
The service is intended for personnel such as spacecraft operators who need a forecast of space weather conditions and in-orbit effects for their current and future operations.
This service is implemented through a combination of products, tools and alerts which can be found through the following tabs along with expert support provided by the teams constituting the ESA Space Weather Service Network. Should you require further guidance in the use of this service, or have specific questions about any aspects of the service presented here, don’t hesitate to contact the Helpdesk.
Environment and effects forecasts
Near-Earth space environment and effects forecasts are provided by these products:
- SaRIF provides colour-coded risk indicators showing the risk from internal charging and total ionising dose for the outer radiation belt and slot region;
- COMESEP provides forecasts of geomagnetic storms and solar energetic particle (SEP) radiation storms;
- HESPERIA provides forecasts of solar energetic particle (SEP) events at low and high proton energy ranges;
- Alert/E provides forecast of geomagnetic and solar radiation storms generated by the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC);
- FORIND provides nowcasts and forecasts of geomagnetic and solar indices needed for modelling in support of atmospheric drag calculation;
- SPM forecasts the number density and temperature of electrons inside and outside the plasmasphere;
- UAH provides geomagnetic indices, Dst Forecast, geomagnetic conditions and a regional geomagnetically induced currents proxy;
- IRF provides a forecast of geomagnetic indices: Kp, Dst and dB/dt;
- IMPC provides a near real-time information and data service for the current state of the ionosphere, related forecasts and warnings;
- EIS provides foF2 long term prediction maps and forecasted foF2 values for the next 24 hours over each ionosonde;
- ATMDEN provides atmospheric density estimates for atmospheric drag calculation;
Solar activity forecasts
Forecasts of solar activity and their propagation through the heliosphere are provided by these products:
- ROB/SIDC provides probabilistic forecasts for the occurrence of X-ray flares determined by the Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC);
- A-Effort is an on-line solar-flare prediction service that monitors, evaluates, and provides advance warning of intense solar flare activity;
- UKMO provides the probability for the occurance of solar flares generated by the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC);
- Flarecast is a fully automated forecasting system for solar flares;
- Enlil/E provides predictions of CME arrival times and solar wind speed and density near Earth based on the Enlil 3d heliospheric model;
- ESWF uses an empirical relation to derive the solar wind speed at Earth distance based on the area of coronal holes;
- STA+CH provides a solar wind speed forecast, based on a STEREO-A persistence model;
- SWFSC/E provides a simplified overview of all the availabe solar wind speed models at Earth;
- DBM provides CME near-Earth arrival time predictions based on the magnetohydrodynamical drag;
- DBEM provides CME arrival time predictions based on ensemble runs of the DBM model;
- PROPTOOL allows users to propagate CMEs, corotating structures and SEPs through the interplanetary medium;
This service page is curated by the ESC Space Radiation. For further information, please contact SSCC Helpdesk.
Throughout its existence, the Sun goes through various non-stationary active and non-equilibrium (often eruptive) processes; this can be broadly regarded as solar activity. The eruptive events caused by solar surface magnetic activity travel through the interplanetary medium and cause geomagnetic disturbances and other phenomena that may affect the functioning of spacecraft. For this reason, forecast of solar activity and its possible effects on spacecraft is essential for every spacecraft operator. From the Products and Tools tabs, a range of products can be accessed that can be useful for spacecraft operators.
Near-Earth environment and effects forecasts
Forecasts of spacecraft effects, such as internal and surface spacecraft charging, are provided by the SaRIF product for the outer radiation belt and slot region based on energetic electron spectra. Forecasts for solar proton events are provided by the COMESEP, HESPERIA and Alert/E products. Forecasts for geomagnetic storms in terms of indices are provided by the UAH, IRF, COMESEP, ALert/E and FORIND products. The latter product is focused towards nowcasts and forecasts of geomagnetic and solar indices needed for atmospheric modeling in support of atmospheric drag calculation. To access forecasts of the number density and the temperature of the electrons inside and outside the plasmasphere, visit SPM. The ionospheric conditions are forecasted by IMPC, EIS and ATMDEN.
Solar Activity forecasts and propagation through the heliosphere
Solar Flares forecasts are provided by automatic tools (A-Effort, Flarecast) and human forecasters (ROB/SIDC, UKMO). The CME propagation times are provided by DBM (near Earth), DBEM, and Enlil/E. The solar wind speed predictions can be obtained from three products: ESWF, STA+CH, and Enlil/E (also provides solar wind density). A simplified overview of all these models is available through SWFSC/E. To track CMEs, co-rotating streams and energetic particles in the heliosphere, the tool PROPTOOL can be used. The SIDC also provides a daily space weather bulletin.
For further information, please contact the SSCC Helpdesk.
Solar Activity: Forecasts
- H-ESC product assessment report
- STEREO-A HI J-Map Annotated (Beacon Mode)
- STEREO-A HI J-Map Annotated (Science Mode)
- Heliospheric solar wind forecasts for Mars
- Heliospheric solar wind forecasts for Mercury
- Near-Earth CME arrival predictions (WSA-Enlil + Ensemble)
- Heliospheric solar wind forecasts for Venus
- CME arrival time predictions (DBEM)
- CME near-Earth arrival time predictions (DBM)
- Heliospheric propagation tool
Interplanetary Medium at L1: (Near-) Real-time Measurements
Interplanetary Medium at L1: Forecasts
- SIDC Latest daily space weather bulletin
- Solar Wind Forecast Speed Comparison
- Near-Earth solar wind forecasts (WSA-Enlil + Ensemble)
- Empirical solar wind speed forecast
- Empirical solar wind speed forecast
- Solar wind speed forecast (STEREO-A persistence model)
- AWARE_NEXT Enhanced 24 hour solar wind forecast
Interplanetary Medium Outside L1: Forecasts
Magnetospheric Environment: (Near-) Real-time Measurements
Magnetospheric Environment: Forecasts
Thermospheric and Atmospheric Conditions: Forecasts
- S4 and Err(S4) 6-hour forecast modelled maps
- SigmaPhi and Err(SigmaPhi) 6-hour forecast modelled maps
- S4 and Err(S4) 6h forecast modelled values at a given location
- SigmaPhi and Err(SigmaPhi) 6h forecast modelled values at a given location
Microparticle Environment: Forecasts
Spacecraft Effects and Anomalies: Forecasts
The Drag-Based Model (DBM) tool provides predictions of the interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) travel and its arrival at an arbitrary ecliptic-plane location or at already listed planets and satellites in ecliptic-plane orbits. Calculations are based on the assumption that the dominant force in the heliospheric dynamics of ICMEs is the magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) equivalent of the aerodynamic drag. From portal release 3.4 DBM is provided as part of the DBEM product.
The Drag-Based Ensemble Model (DBEM) tool provides predictions of the Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejection (ICME) travel and its arrival at an arbitrary ecliptic-plane location. Calculations are based on the standard DBM assumption that the dominant force is the MHD equivalent of aerodynamic drag. In the ensemble version the model is run multiple times by perturbing input parameters to build up a statistical view of the most likely outcome. The DBEM includes the ability to specify the CME geometry using either cone model or the graduated cylindrical shell model characteristics of the CME. By incorporating dynamic background solar wind speed, now DBEM is able to provide Earthward directed CME arrival times and speed with more accuracy.
The propagation tool supports the assessment of CME (Coronal Mass Ejections) and CIR (Corotating Interaction Regions) and SEP (Solar Energetic Particle) arrival times at planets, spacecraft and other solar system objects such as comets. It supports the tracking of heliospheric structures using white light J-maps and has access to catalogues of CME/CIR trajectories. It is also connected to science archives of in-situ data (AMDA) and imagery data to assist with posteriori analysis.
All Quiet Alert
Solar Flare Detection
Solar Flare Detection and Location
Halo CME Onset
Coronal Hole Notification
Solar Particle Event Onset
Geomagnetic Storm Warning / Solar Wind Shock Arrival
Geomagnetic Storm Onset
Ionospheric Disturbance Detection
Ground Level Enhancement Detection
This section provides links to web pages or resources that are not part of the ESA Space Weather Service Network or esa.int domain. These sites are not under ESA control, and therefore ESA is not responsible for any of the information or links that you may find there.
- ECSS-E-ST-10-04C Space environment (15 June 2020)
- ECSS-E-HB-10-12A Calculation of radiation and its effects and margin policy handbook (issued on 17 December 2010)