234 Utilizing the International Space Station for Real-time Space Weather Data

Monday, 23 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Scott A. Budzien, NRL, Washington, DC; and A. W. Stephan, C. Coker, K. F. Dymond, C. A. Metzler, and A. Nicholas

Since 2009 the Naval Research Laboratory has flown several space weather research experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS).  These sensors have demonstrated the utility of the ISS platform to successfully perform both in situ and remote sensing of the geospace environment. The ISS orbit provides a unique vantage point to the mid- and low-latitude ionosphere and thermosphere, particularly at lower altitudes.  Moreover, the ISS orbiting laboratory provides high-bandwidth, real-time data through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), which can be exploited for low-latency space weather monitoring. 

In the fall of 2016 two new NRL ionospheric sensing experiments are scheduled to arrive at the ISS in late 2016 as part of the Space Test Program – Houston #5 payload. The Limb-imaging Ionospheric and Thermospheric Extreme-ultraviolet Spectrograph (LITES) and the GPS Radio Occultation and Ultraviolet Photometer Co-located (GROUP-C) experiments will demonstrate advanced remote sensing techniques suitable for ionospheric specification and forecasting.  By leveraging environmental data products developed for current low-Earth orbit operational space weather sensors, LITES and GROUP-C can provide low-latency/real-time space environment products to data-starved operational space weather models, with the potential to mitigate anticipated coverage gaps.

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