Monitoring Space Weather
In order to protect and monitor space weather, NOAA’s current space weather observing systems primarily involve the following platforms.
- The GOES-R satellites, which carry numerous instruments for solar imaging and space weather monitoring:
- The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, which houses:
NOAA also collects space weather data from a variety of other sources, including NASA and international partners such as EUMETSAT, whose METOP satellites carry NOAA’s solar-monitoring Space Environmental Monitor (SEM-2) instrument.
Satellites must endure the incredibly harsh environment of space. As NOAA’s fleet ages, technology is also improving allowing NOAA to create smaller and more efficient satellites and instruments.
NOAA’s Space Weather Follow On (SWFO) program consists of two projects, detailed below,that will ensure that the agency has the best and most reliable information about solar activity.
- The SWFO-L1 satellite mission will use a suite of instruments to make on board measurements of the solar wind thermal plasma and magnetic field, as well as a Compact Coronagraph (CCOR) instrument to image Coronal Mass Ejections.
- The Ground Segment comprisesof a SWFO Antenna Network, a mission operations center for command and control of the SWFO-L1 Observatory, and a product generation-product distribution element, all of which working in concert to ensure timely delivery of instrument data to users.
- A new CCOR instrument will also be added to the GOES-U satellite's suite of instruments, the last iteration of the GOES-R series.
In 2017 and 2020, NOAA commissioned an economic benefit analysis report on the positive effects of space weather on the electric power and aviation industries, as well as global navigation. In March 2020 the Congressional Budget Office released a report that discusses a range of threats that could cause widespread, long-lasting disruptions for the electric grid.
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