Space weather 'piggyback'

December 6, 2018, European Space Agency
Credit: KARI

The first ESA-funded space weather monitoring instrument was launched on 4 December 2018, hitching a ride on South Korea's new geostationary satellite, GEO-KOMPSAT-2A – the Geostationary Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite-2A.

The satellite, seen in this image, was lofted into orbit on an Ariane rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, and will provide meteorological monitoring over the Asia-Pacific region as well as data on space weather.

'Space weather' describes the constantly changing conditions in space as a result of the unpredictable behaviour of our active Sun.

This dynamic solar activity changes the , causing variations in magnetic and electric fields, and levels of high-energy particles and radiation around our planet. Such changes can cause impair satellites, disturb telecommunication and , and damage with crucial infrastructure on Earth, such as power grids.

ESA's Service Oriented Spacecraft Magnetometer (SOSMAG) instrument has four tiny sensors that will measure Earth's magnetic field and provide data on how space weather affects it.

The SOSMAG kit is designed ultimately to be mounted on a variety of different spacecraft, in an array of orbits, which together will give a fuller picture of Earth's environment. These 'hosted payloads' boost efficiency and reduce cost, while providing critical data to be fed into ESA's Space Weather Services Network.

Find out more about the network, ESA's future Distributed Space Weather Sensor System, and the upcoming Lagrange mission to monitor the Sun, all part of the Agency's plan to monitor hazards in space and one day to mitigate them.

Explore further: First 'piggyback' kit for monitoring space weather launched

Related Stories

Ariane 5's sixth launch this year

December 5, 2018

An Ariane 5, operated by Arianespace, has delivered the GSAT-11 and Geo-Kompsat-2A satellites into their planned orbits.

ESA rocks space weather

November 7, 2018

This week, to coincide with the fifteenth annual European Space Weather Week, ESA is celebrating the dynamic phenomenon of space weather.

Video: ESA's future Lagrange mission to monitor the sun

November 8, 2018

Space weather describes the changing environment throughout the Solar System, driven by the energetic and unpredictable nature of our sun. Solar wind, solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections can result in geomagetic storms ...

GOLD instrument captures its first image of the Earth

September 18, 2018

NASA's Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) instrument powered on and opened its cover to scan the Earth for the first time, resulting in a "first light" image of the Western Hemisphere in the ultraviolet. ...

Recommended for you

Comprehensive model captures entire life cycle of solar flares

January 15, 2019

A team of scientists has, for the first time, used a single, cohesive computer model to simulate the entire life cycle of a solar flare: from the buildup of energy thousands of kilometers below the solar surface, to the emergence ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.