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Due to the lapse in Congressional Appropriation for Fiscal Year 2023, the U.S Department of Commerce is closed 

Space Weather Programs

Orange sphere of the sun against black background with yellow/orange protuberance showing the flare.

Monitoring Space Weather

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In order to protect and monitor space weather, NOAA’s current space weather observing systems primarily involve the following platforms.

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.

Future Technologies


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.

Reference Documents

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.

Economic Benefit Analysis of NOAA’s Space Weather Products and Services to the Electric Power Industry
August 2020
Read More
Social and Economic Impacts of Space Weather in the United States
September 2017
Read More
Enhancing the Security of the North American Electric Grid
March 2020
Read More

More Information

Image at NESDIS
Humans have studied the Sun with telescopes for 400 years, but our understanding of our nearest star has improved dramatically since the 1960s.
Learn How to View the Sun
Image at NESDIS
NOAA is planning an advanced satellite that will improve forecasts and warnings for potentially damaging solar activity while perched in a Sun-facing orbit a million miles from Earth.
What's in the Space Weather Toolkit?

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