SWWT Topical Group "Spacecraft, Aircraft and Launcher Environments"

The Spacecraft, Aircraft and Launcher Environments Topical Group was formed to act as a conduit between the space weather community and ESA providing, in particular, inputs on matters concerning space weather effects on spacecraft, aircraft and launchers and accounts of related services.

The space environments considered include: plasma, particle radiation, electromagnetic radiation and micro-particles. Consequent effects taken into account include electrostatic discharges (ESD); electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) issues; single event upsets (SEUs) in electronic components and subsystems; dose effects on living cells.


Group Chair/spokesperson

Susan McKenna-Lawlor, Space Technology Ireland (STIL), National University of Ireland, Ireland

Email: stil@nuim.ie

Group Co-Chairs

Federico di Marco (VEGA)

Email: Federico.Di.Marco@esa.int

Guenther Reitz (DLR)

Email: Guenther.Reitz@dlr.de

There are ~30 general members of the group. Contact list


Professor Susan McKenna-Lawlor is pleased to announce that a special program will be presented at the annual Splinter Meeting of the Spacecraft Aircraft and Launcher Environment/SALE Topical Team during Space Weather Week at Liege from 17.30-19.00 p.m. on Tuesday, 18 November. This program will highlight the circumstances of: the rendezvous of the Rosetta spacecraft with Comet 67P/C-G during August 2014; Lander deployment to the nucleus on 11 November and escort, thereafter, by the spacecraft of the evolving comet as it follows its trajectory around the Sun.

Space Weather can potentially strongly affect the cometary environment and, thereby, the scientific measurements made aboard Rosetta. It has thus been arranged that the distinguished scientist Dr. Bernard V. Jackson of the University of California in San Diego will, on behalf of the SALE Team, carry out analysis and forecasting of the remotely–sensed solar wind at the comet from the time of the initial reconnaissance phase of Rosetta about the nucleus (mid August – 11 November 2014) until the end of the mission. The nominal mission ends in December 2015, after the comet has passed its closest point to the Sun (August 2015). Below is attached a biography of Dr. Jackson and a short account of the IPS technique he has developed to make ongoing space weather forecasts at the comet.

These forecasts will be mounted in a secure section of the SALE Website on the European Space Weather Portal where they will be available to members of the SALE Topical Group. Those wishing to become members of the Group should send applications to the Chair of SALE (stil@nuim.ie) with a BRIEF account of how they would use the data if they were given access to it.

Remotely-Sensed Solar Wind Analysis and Forecast at the Rosetta S/C and Comet 67P/C-G

B.V. Jackson,
(with help from P.P. Hick, A. Buffington, and H.-S. Yu)
Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences,
University of California at San Diego, LaJolla, CA, USA

The interplanetary scintillation (IPS) technique allows a determination and forecast of solar wind plasma parameters from remotely-sensed heliospheric observations. Over the years IPS analyses have become more sophisticated and now provide precise tomographic 3D reconstructions of the time-varying global heliosphere. These analyses of transient solar wind features can match and also provide an extended low-resolution global view of the solar wind parameters (velocity, density, and vector magnetic field) which are usually only measured by in-situ sensors. Recent solar missions, such as SDO, Hinode, STEREO, and SMEI, have enhanced our capability to remotely measure detailed aspects of specific solar transient events near the Sun, including their outflow, and three-dimensional structure, and these can now be compared with the IPS analyses. Some of these near-Sun measurements have also been forward-modelled into the heliosphere using 3D-MHD techniques. The presentation to SALE will highlight a portion of this work that includes a depiction and forecast of solar wind parameters at the location of Rosetta throughout its period of close encounter with Comet 67P/C-G. Pertinent url: http://ips.ucsd.edu

Sample analysis of solar wind conditions at Comet 67P/C-G

Heliospheric density and velocity ecliptic cuts to 4.0 AU from a tomographic analysis using STELab, Japan IPS data on 2014/07/04. Earth, earth’s orbit, the STEREO A and B spacecraft, and an ecliptic projected location of Comet 67P/C-C and a segment of its orbit are depicted. Density has had an r-2 density fall-off (normalized to 1 AU) removed in order to depict structures near and far from the Sun with equal significance.

Sample analysis of solar wind conditions at Earth

Heliospheric density and velocity in-situ values at Earth for a 19-day time interval from a tomographic analysis using STELab, Japan IPS data on 2014/07/04. These analyses are compared with in-situ measurements obtained from the ACE spacecraft. The level of the signal at Earth is matched to the tomographic values determined from the IPS tomography prior to the time the data are obtained (vertical dashed line).

Sample analysis of solar wind conditions at Rosetta

Heliospheric density and velocity in-situ values at Comet 67P/C-G for a 19-day time interval from the tomographic analysis obtained on 2014/07/04. The IPS tomography analysis was produced at the time of the vertical dashed line when the comet was at ~3.7 AU, and projected to its location throughout the time interval.

About the researcher

Dr. Bernard Jackson has participated in numerous activities involving the solar corona, the heliosphere and the transient phenomena within it. He began his career in Solar Physics as a Skylab coronagraph postdoctoral fellow at the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado in the 1970s. As a Research Physicist at UCSD since the late 1970's, he has worked in the fields of radio physics, interplanetary scintillation (IPS) and plasma physics.

He helped develop the UCSD IPS telescope array near Fallbrook, California, following the destruction by fire of similar instrumentation in 1983 near Carlsbad, California. Dr. Jackson is a LASCO C3 CoI, and he and staff at UCSD designed, developed and tested components for the Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI) that was jointly funded by NASA and the Air Force. SMEI, a predecessor to the heliospheric imagers on board the STEREO spacecraft, was launched January 6, 2003 on the Air Force Space Test Program Coriolis Mission spacecraft and closed on 28 September 2011. Dr. Jackson developed a tomographic analysis program to allow accurate analysis of remotely-sensed heliospheric data and to archive the current interplanetary scintillation data sets as well as those from SMEI. Dr. Jackson has helped make this data set available to the community for use in heliospheric remote sensing analysis, and also for use by the public at the NASA-Goddard Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC). Dr. Jackson has published over 150 journal articles and review papers on these subjects.


Space Weather Week Activity in 2011
Space Weather Week Activity in 2012
Space Weather Week Activity in 2013
Space Weather Week Activity in 2014
Space Weather Week Activity in 2015
ESA Space Situational Awareness Preparatory Program
Programs funded by the EU in the area of Space Situational Awareness