Critical Support Issues for Commercial Space Transportation Space Weather Services

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 9:00 AM
129A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
J. Kunches, Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates, Boulder, CO; and G. Crowley, I. Azeem, C. Winkler, and M. Pilinski

The realm of weather support for commercial spaceports includes situational awareness and, better yet, good forecasts, of ionospheric irregularities and waves. A turbulent ionosphere impacts the availability and hence, accuracy, of GNSS-based systems. Plus, when phenomena known as Travelling Ionospheric Disturbances (TIDs) are present, they may have an ill effect on the safe landing of the vehicle.

In commercial aviation, the planning for NextGen and SESAR includes this issue. It is well-known that TIDs on a parallel vector with, and above, an approaching aircraft can create a situation where the local, ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) corrections are not valid. Commercial spaceflight landings will be affected in a similar fashion. Systems must be devised that can quickly alert the crew of these potentially unsafe conditions.

The optimal system would employ ground-based measurements near the spaceport, and feed those into physics-based models to both extend the merit of the observations spatially and temporally forecasting. This presentation will explore ways in which this goal can be attained.