A space weather information service based upon remote and in-situ measurements of coronal mass ejections heading for Earth

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Birgit Ritter, German Aerospace Center DLR Cologne, Cologne, Germany, Oliver Andreas Hartkorn, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany, Arjan J. H. Meskers, Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Delft, Netherlands, Oscar Miles, University of Southampton, Faculty of Applied Sciences and Engineering, Southampton, United Kingdom, Michael Russwurm, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria, Steven Scully, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Department of Experimental Physics, Kildare, United Kingdom, Andres Roldan, University of Granada, Faculty of Sciences, Granada, Spain, Peter Juestel, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany, Victor Reville, CEA/Irfu Paris Diderot University CNRS/INSU, AIM Paris-Saclay Laboratory, Paris, France, Sorina Lupu, Politehnica University of Bucharest, Faculty of Electronics, Bucharest, Romania and Alexis Ruffenach, IRAP, Toulouse, France
The Earth’s magnetosphere is formed as a consequence of the interaction between the planet’s magnetic field and the solar wind, a continuous plasma stream from the Sun. A number of different solar wind phenomena have been studied over the past forty years with the intention of understanding
and forcasting solar behavior and space weather. In particular, Earth-bound interplanetary coronal mass ejections (CMEs) can significantly disturb the Earth’s magnetosphere for a short time and cause geomagnetic storms. We present a mission concept consisting of six spacecraft that are equally spaced in a heliocentric orbit at 0.72 AU. These spacecraft will monitor the plasma properties, the magnetic field’s orientation and magnitude, and the 3D-propagation trajectory of CMEs heading for Earth. The primary objective of this mission is to increase space weather forecasting time by means of a near real-time information service, that is based upon in-situ and remote measurements of the CME properties. The mission secondary objective is the improvement of scientific space weather models. In-situ measurements are performed using a Solar Wind Analyzer instrumentation package and flux gate magnetometers. For remote measurements, coronagraphs are employed. The proposed instruments originate from other space missions with the intention to reduce mission costs and to streamline the mission design process. Communication with the six identical spacecraft is realized via a deep space network consisting of six ground stations. This network provides an information service that is in uninterrupted contact with the spacecraft, allowing for continuos space weather monitoring. A dedicated data processing center will handle all the data, and forward the processed data to the SSA Space Weather Coordination Center. This organization will inform the general public through a space weather forecast. The data processing center will additionally archive the data for the scientific community. This concept mission allows for major advances in space weather forecasting and the scientific modeling of space weather.