Introducing ESA Vigil: Earth’s Devoted Solar Defender

The Vigil space weather monitoring mission. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — It’s the first mission of its kind, set to monitor our active and unpredictable Sun and help protect us from its violent outbursts – and it has a new name.

Once known as “Lagrange,” ESA’s upcoming space weather mission needed a new name that would reflect its vital role: helping to protect Earth’s infrastructure, satellites, inhabitants and space explorers from unpredictable but violent solar events like solar flares and ‘coronal mass ejections’.

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EnduroSat & Mission Space Redefine Space Weather Data Infrastructure

LUXEMBOURG & SOFIA, Bulgaria (Mission Space/EnduroSat PR) — Mission Space, leading enabler and provider of satellite-based space weather monitoring and EnduroSat, leading provider of software-defined NanoSats and space services for business and academia sign a commercial agreement to launch Mission Space’s first space weather payload on EnduroSat CubeSat platform.

The planned launch is scheduled for Q4 2022 and will carry Mission Space’s set of high energy particle detectors to monitor the conditions of the sun. The new level of data and intelligence will enhance Mission Space proprietary space weather cloud platform and help satellite operators detect solar storms early, quantify risks and monitor increased levels of radiation for better asset protection.

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Swarm and Cluster Get to the Bottom of Geomagnetic Storms

The magnetic field and electric currents in and around Earth generate complex forces that have immeasurable impact on every day life. The field can be thought of as a huge bubble, protecting us from cosmic radiation and charged particles that bombard Earth in solar winds. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The notion of living in a bubble is usually associated with negative connotations, but all life on Earth is dependent on the safe bubble created by our magnetic field. Understanding how the field is generated, how it protects us and how it sometimes gives way to charged particles from the solar wind is not just a matter of scientific interest, but also a matter of safety. Using information from ESA’s Cluster and Swarm missions along with measurements from the ground, scientists have, for the first time, been able to confirm that curiously named bursty bulk flows are directly connected to abrupt changes in the magnetic field near Earth’s surface, which can cause damage to pipelines and electrical power lines.

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Biden Administration Publishes Space Priorites Framework

Taken by NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, this picture shows Earth’s limb, or horizon, from the International Space Station as it orbits above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile. (Credits: NASA)

UNITED STATES SPACE PRIORITIES FRAMEWORK
The White House
December 2021

UNITED STATES SPACE PRIORITIES FRAMEWORK

Space activities are essential to our way of life. They advance our understanding of the Earth, the universe, and humanity; enable U.S. national security; create good jobs and economic opportunity; enhance our health and well-being; and inspire us to pursue our dreams. Space capabilities provide critical data, products, and services that drive innovation in the United States and around the world. Access to and use of space is a vital national interest.

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NOAA Releases RFI for Space Weather Commercial Pilot Program

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — On November 10, 2021, NOAA released a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting information on existing or planned commercial space-based space weather data and related capabilities that will be available in the timeframe of 2022 through 2027. 

This solicitation is being issued pursuant to direction in the Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow (PROSWIFT) Act (Public Law 116-181). In addition, the NOAA Commercial Space Policy and the NESDIS Commercial Space Activities Assessment Process call for NOAA to explore and, where appropriate, pursue demonstration projects to assess the viability of assimilating commercially-provided satellite data and products to improve weather forecasting and diversify NOAA’s portfolio of data collection capabilities. 

Through this RFI, NOAA seeks information from industry on existing and planned space weather observation data sources and related capabilities that may help NOAA meet NOAA’s space weather mission objectives. The RFI will be open for 28 days with responses due no later than December 8, 2021, 4 PM [EST]. The responses received will be used to inform plans for future space-based space weather Commercial Weather Data Pilot studies and other commercial data acquisition activities.

NOAA’s Commercial Data Program continues to successfully engage with the commercial sector through pilots and acquisition of operational satellite data-as-a-service for commercial radio occultation data to help improve weather forecasts and provide risk reduction to the overall observing system. The latest updates and activities in NOAA’s Commercial Data Program are available on the “Business with NOAA” section of the Office of Space Commerce website.

UK Unveils “Bold” Strategy to Develop World Class Space Industry

  • National Space Strategy sets out long-term plans to strengthen the UK’s status as a world-class space nation
  • New vision will help grow UK’s multibillion-pound space industry, boost private investment and capitalise on UK strengths such as satellite manufacturing
  • Brings together UK government civil and defence space activities to protect UK interests at home and abroad

LONDON (UK Government PR) — New plans to strengthen the UK as a world class space nation by firing up its multibillion-pound space industry have been set out in a National Space Strategy  launched today.

From connecting people with their friends and family and monitoring climate to helping farmers to manage their crops, space plays a pivotal role in our daily lives, and is a vital part of the UK economy, worth over £16 billion per year.

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NOAA Issues RFI on Space Weather Instruments

Space weather affects the Earth’s magnetic field. (Credit: NASA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — On September 13, 2021, NOAA released a Solar Coronagraph Development and Related Capabilities request for information (RFI) seeking industry interest and capabilities to produce space-based coronagraphs which would be deployed on satellites in near-Earth and deep space orbits on the Sun-Earth line, and off-Sun-Earth line.

This RFI supports NOAA’s continuing efforts to partner with the commercial sector in innovative ways in support of its operational space-based space weather mission.

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House Infrastructure Bill Includes $173 Million to Improve Space Weather Forecasting

An artist’s rendering of the Space Weather Follow-on L1 satellite. (Credit: NOAA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The House Science Committee approved an infrastructure bill that provides an additional $173 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to accelerate the development and launch of the Space Weather Follow-On Lagrange-1 (SWFO-L1) mission. The spacecraft, scheduled for launch in 2024, will monitor the solar wind and coronal mass ejections from the Earth-sun L-1 Lagrange point.

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Germany Establishes Space Weather Service

Space weather affects the Earth’s magnetic field. (Credit: NASA)

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — It is particularly easy to recognize by the auroras: the particle radiation of the sun. But the sun’s plasma eruptions not only create the natural spectacle in the polar regions. They can also interfere with satellites. In extreme cases, space weather even affects the infrastructure on earth. The Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) observes space weather and researches to better understand and predict the interactions. The DLR Institute in Neustrelitz (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) opened on May 26, 2021.

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Moon Mission Delays Could Increase Risks from Solar Storms

Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. A new study finds daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars. (Credit: NASA)

REDDING, UK (University of Redding PR) — Planned missions to return humans to the Moon need to hurry up to avoid hitting one of the busiest periods for extreme space weather, according to scientists conducting the most in-depth ever look at solar storm timing.

Scientists at the University of Reading studied 150 years of space weather data to investigate patterns in the timing of the most extreme events, which can be extremely dangerous to astronauts and satellites, and even disrupt power grids if they arrive at Earth.

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Name ESA’s New Mission!

To ensure a robust capability to monitor, nowcast and forecast potentially dangerous solar events, ESA has initiated the assessment of two possible future space weather missions. (Credit: ESA/A. Baker)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA needs you. We need a name for our new spacecraft. Its mission? To spot potentially hazardous solar storms before they reach Earth.

The new space weather mission will keep constant watch over our unpredictable and often unruly star, sending back a steady stream of data to ESA’s Space Weather Service Network

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KBR Protects and Prepares Planet for Space Weather Events via $51.2M NOAA Contract

KBR will deploy, develop and operate the Space Weather Follow-On Antenna Network. This work will contribute to accurate space weather forecasts.

HOUSTON – (May 13, 2021) – KBR (NYSE: KBR) won a new $51.2 million contract from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to deploy, develop and operate the agency’s Space Weather Follow-On (SWFO) Antenna Network. KBR’s work will contribute to accurate forecasts of space weather, protecting lives and livelihood around the planet.

Under this contract, KBR will build and maintain an antenna network that sends and receives continuous mission data from the SWFO-Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1) observatory and its ground segment. KBR’s network will perform telemetry, command and ranging services for the observatory’s operations.

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SpaceFund Announces Full Deployment of First Fund

HOUSTON (SpaceFund PR) — SpaceFund Inc., announced it has fully deployed investments from its first “LaunchPad” fund today. The venture capital firm placed investor funds in 14 companies, including both some well-known NewSpace stars, as well as seeding rising stars it believes capable of helping lead humanity into the frontier of space.

“We’re right on track in our plan to seed and support the growth of these amazing companies,” said SpaceFund founder Rick Tumlinson. “Our formula is working. First we find brilliant frontier tech startups in need of early funding, then we bring in funds from visionary investors, and after significant diligence, we place those funds in just the right places to power the space revolution.”

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Video: 5 Things to Know About Space Weather

Video Caption: Want to know more about space weather? Comment with your questions for a Q&A with NOAA space weather experts.

Just like we experience weather on Earth, there’s weather in space! The Sun may look very constant and quiet from Earth, but it’s constantly spewing out a stream of particles called the solar wind. Space weather is activity on the Sun that can affect Earth and interact with our technology.

Learn more: https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/space-wea…

NOAA Awards SWFO Ground System Command and Control Contract to L3Harris

An artist’s rendering of the SWFO-L1 satellite. (Credit: NOAA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA has awarded the Space Weather Follow On-Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1) Command and Control contract to L3Harris in Melbourne, Florida. The cost plus fixed-fee contract has a total value of $43,784,063, with a five-year performance period. The SWFO-L1 mission is planned to launch in 2025 as a ride share with the NASA Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe.

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