4

Agency Activities and Related Recommendations

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

NASA Roles and Responsibilities

In its role as the nation's space exploration agency, NASA supports the development and launching of spacecraft and suborbital probes, including those dedicated to the Sun-Earth Connections science goals. It also supports interpretation of the results of these flight programs through both mission-specific data analysis and more general research and analysis programs.

Over the past decade, NASA's Office of Space Science (OSS) has effectively assembled a “great observatory” for solar-terrestrial research that includes a constellation of 11 spacecraft in interplanetary space and the magnetosphere (see Table 1). This extensive array of remote sensing and in situ instrumentation (representing an international investment of about $3 billion) provides a unique opportunity to observe the Sun, interplanetary space, and geospace from the rise of solar activity beginning with the solar minimum, through the peak of the coming cycle from 1999 to 2002. The transitional phase of rising solar activity and the extreme conditions that follow have never before been comprehensively observed by solar coronal imagers or spectrometers or by such a range of critically placed in situ and remote-sensing instruments.

Some of NASA's instrument sets observe the solar dynamo region, coronal holes, solar flares, and CMEs (Yohkoh and SOHO). Others sample the character and composition of the plasmas, fields, and energetic particles at different points in the heliosphere (Ulysses and the Voyagers) and the geospace environment (Polar, Wind, IMP-8, SAMPEX, and Geotail). Although each spacecraft will produce unique and interesting data in its own right during the coming rise in solar activity, together they form a powerful diagnostic network. With this network, researchers can probe processes deep within the Sun that generate the magnetic field, observe the emergence of that magnetic field through the Sun 's surface layers, determine the origins and forms of the associated solar activity, trace the interplanetary propagation and consequences of solar transients, and characterize the resulting impacts on geospace.

Assessment of NASA Activities for the Solar Maximum

NASA is not currently committed to funding Mission Operations and Data Analysis for the ISTP program (including SOHO, Wind, Polar, and Geotail spacecraft) and related Sun-Earth Connections projects (mentioned above) beyond FY 1998. These operations are scheduled to end two years before the solar maximum.1 Furthermore, the ISTP missions have modest or nonexistent guest investigator programs, with many of their researchers competing for data

1  

A NASA-sponsored “independent ‘zero-based' review” of the scientific merit and cost of continuing operations for the ISTP missions appears in Gerald Atkinson et al., Final Report: Senior Review of Sun-Earth-Heliosphere Connection Mission Operations and Data Analysis Programs, NASA Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C., June 1997. The Senior Review, chaired by Lennard Fisk, was published after completion of the CSSP/CSTR draft report. The authors of the Senior Review strongly endorsed ISTP extension as part of a solar maximum campaign.



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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum 4 Agency Activities and Related Recommendations NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION NASA Roles and Responsibilities In its role as the nation's space exploration agency, NASA supports the development and launching of spacecraft and suborbital probes, including those dedicated to the Sun-Earth Connections science goals. It also supports interpretation of the results of these flight programs through both mission-specific data analysis and more general research and analysis programs. Over the past decade, NASA's Office of Space Science (OSS) has effectively assembled a “great observatory” for solar-terrestrial research that includes a constellation of 11 spacecraft in interplanetary space and the magnetosphere (see Table 1). This extensive array of remote sensing and in situ instrumentation (representing an international investment of about $3 billion) provides a unique opportunity to observe the Sun, interplanetary space, and geospace from the rise of solar activity beginning with the solar minimum, through the peak of the coming cycle from 1999 to 2002. The transitional phase of rising solar activity and the extreme conditions that follow have never before been comprehensively observed by solar coronal imagers or spectrometers or by such a range of critically placed in situ and remote-sensing instruments. Some of NASA's instrument sets observe the solar dynamo region, coronal holes, solar flares, and CMEs (Yohkoh and SOHO). Others sample the character and composition of the plasmas, fields, and energetic particles at different points in the heliosphere (Ulysses and the Voyagers) and the geospace environment (Polar, Wind, IMP-8, SAMPEX, and Geotail). Although each spacecraft will produce unique and interesting data in its own right during the coming rise in solar activity, together they form a powerful diagnostic network. With this network, researchers can probe processes deep within the Sun that generate the magnetic field, observe the emergence of that magnetic field through the Sun 's surface layers, determine the origins and forms of the associated solar activity, trace the interplanetary propagation and consequences of solar transients, and characterize the resulting impacts on geospace. Assessment of NASA Activities for the Solar Maximum NASA is not currently committed to funding Mission Operations and Data Analysis for the ISTP program (including SOHO, Wind, Polar, and Geotail spacecraft) and related Sun-Earth Connections projects (mentioned above) beyond FY 1998. These operations are scheduled to end two years before the solar maximum.1 Furthermore, the ISTP missions have modest or nonexistent guest investigator programs, with many of their researchers competing for data 1   A NASA-sponsored “independent ‘zero-based' review” of the scientific merit and cost of continuing operations for the ISTP missions appears in Gerald Atkinson et al., Final Report: Senior Review of Sun-Earth-Heliosphere Connection Mission Operations and Data Analysis Programs, NASA Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C., June 1997. The Senior Review, chaired by Lennard Fisk, was published after completion of the CSSP/CSTR draft report. The authors of the Senior Review strongly endorsed ISTP extension as part of a solar maximum campaign.

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum analysis and interpretation funds under the heavily oversubscribed NASA Research and Analysis program.2 In addition to the existing program, six new NASA-sponsored Sun-Earth Connection missions are to be launched before the solar maximum to fill in additional pieces of the Sun-Earth Connection puzzle. ACE will measure the solar wind and energetic particle composition from L1, the first Lagrangian point. TRACE will obtain high-resolution images throughout the solar atmosphere to look for transient phenomena over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Equator-S, which carries NASA-supported instruments, will provide particle and magnetic field measurements in an approximately 11 RE × 500-km equatorial orbit, with radiation belt region coverage not replicated by other spacecraft. TIMED will determine how Earth's upper atmosphere and mesosphere respond to the solar and magnetospheric inputs of photons and particles. IMAGE will cover the dynamics of the magnetosphere as it responds to solar outputs. Cluster, an ESA effort that involves U.S. investigators, will resolve the temporal and spatial structure of the magnetopause with a four-spacecraft set of measurements. How these new missions and others in the planning phases will be accommodated within the current budgetary constraints and without compromising the potential of the existing missions remains undetermined. Of course, NASA is facing concerns of a more interdisciplinary nature that may affect its ability to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the upcoming solar maximum. In particular, more than one source of expendable launch vehicles (for payloads requiring less than Delta class) is needed for future Explorers. At the same time, the entire fleet of OSS's space science spacecraft is threatened by the possible scaling back of support for the Deep Space Network (DSN), which is needed to obtain an adequate flow of data by essentially all the interplanetary spacecraft and some of the international missions. NASA now has a unique opportunity to study Sun-Earth connections during the rise to solar maximum and through the peak of solar activity, when intense transients occur with increasing frequency (i.e., large flares, fast CMEs, strong solar energetic-particle events, and the associated disturbances of geospace). Each spacecraft in the current constellation has distinct capabilities and will address different but related goals: The search for gravity waves in the Sun and observations of its internal dynamics and magnetic fields in concert (SOHO helioseismology and magnetic field measurements); The links between magnetic evolution and the initiation of large flares and fast CMEs (Yohkoh showing the global soft x-ray picture; TRACE zooming in on evolving active-region structures emitting in the UV and EUV wavelengths; and SOHO measuring the global EUV content and underlying magnetic fields, as well as the transit of CMEs through the corona and into interplanetary space); The tracking of solar disturbances to Earth and to the boundary of the heliosphere (Ulysses providing a view of the helio-latitudinal extent, Wind the local view, ACE the compositional signature of the acceleration processes, and the Voyagers the distant view and dissipation scale); and The ability to predict the effects of solar events on Earth and its space environment (GGS Wind for interplanetary inputs and boundary conditions on the magnetosphere; Polar for polar region response; Geotail for magnetospheric response in the magnetotail region, where 2   Space Studies Board, National Research Council, Research and Data Analysis Programs: Engines for Innovation and Synthesis, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1998, in preparation.

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum energy transferred from the solar wind is stored; FAST for a close look at the auroral acceleration process; SAMPEX for radiation belt response; TIMED for upper-atmosphere response; and IMAGE for global snapshots of geospace emissions stimulated by the solar inputs). Conclusions and Recommendations for NASA The committees believe that NASA has built an excellent Sun-Earth Connection multisatellite observatory that offers solar and space scientists unparalleled opportunities for research, but its investment will not yield maximum dividends unless this observatory is used to fullest advantage through the upcoming solar maximum. The broad-based support for the research addressed by this observatory is evident in the interagency NSWP3 and the surge of public interest in response to the events surrounding a solar eruption observed on January 6, 1997. Continuing the multisatellite observatory will also support construction of the International Space Station, which is scheduled to require many EVAs during a time of maximum solar activity. The timing is right for this constellation of spacecraft to have its maximum impact on the science issues it was designed to address. The committees recommend that, at a minimum, NASA continue the existing International Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program and related operating missions (ACE, Ulysses, Yohkoh, FAST, SAMPEX, and the Voyagers) through the forthcoming solar maximum. This includes acquiring high-quality data (e.g., through the DSN) and then validating, archiving, interpreting, and publishing them. The committees also recommend the timely launches of TRACE, TIMED, and IMAGE and encourage U.S. participation in Equator-S and Cluster, so that spacecraft capable of making unique contributions will be available during the upcoming solar maximum observational campaign. Finally, the committees recommend that a dedicated guest investigator program be initiated to complement the existing program during the solar maximum. Such a program would allow all selected investigators to have full use of the collected Sun-Earth Connection data to address the problems of the origin of solar activity and its effects in the solar system, especially its effects on Earth. NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION NOAA Roles and Responsibilities NOAA supports critical elements of the nation's space environment information system infrastructure, including space environment measurements on the geosynchronous and polar orbiting NOAA weather satellites and the operation of the Space Environment Center (SEC) and National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) at NOAA facilities in Boulder, Colorado. The SEC is the primary provider of current space environment information for the nation's civilian customers, as well as a resource for other federal agencies (e.g., NASA, DOD, and DOE). Users look to the NOAA SEC for products and services ranging from educational and research 3   Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research,The National Space Weather Program: The Implementation Plan, FCM-P31-1997, Washington, D.C., January 1997.

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum materials to specific forecasts of conditions relating to solar and geomagnetic activity that might interfere with various government and commercial enterprises. For information more than 30 days old, customers turn to the NGDC for archived data useful for retrospective analyses and long-term studies, or for overviews of space environment effects, including cataloged reports of satellite anomalies and historical records of solar activity and geomagnetic indices. NGDC also hosts the Solar-Terrestrial Physics Discipline Data Center for the World Data Center system. Development and deployment of space-based technologies in many sectors produce an ever-increasing demand for products and services and for new types of information. Soon the rise in space weather events associated with growing solar activity will further tax the SEC, whose operational system has been unable to keep pace with the progress in scientific understanding of solar activity and the space environment and its effects. Although the framework created by the newly developed NSWP will make available many potentially valuable data-based and theoretical research models, these models are not generally amenable to operational use and have yet to be tested and evaluated in an applications-oriented system. NOAA has traditionally counted on interagency and international cooperation to help maintain its base level of comprehensive monitoring related to the space environment, data management and dissemination, operational forecasting, and (to a lesser extent) internal supporting research. Both SEC and NGDC augment their own data collection programs with data from other agency sources, especially from NASA, DOD, and DOE. International resources, which have become more accessible through the Internet and the World Wide Web, are also exploited whenever possible. Both the SEC and NGDC have set up cooperative exchange programs with other space environment centers around the globe, such as the Hiraiso Research Center in Japan and the Ionospheric Prediction Service in Australia, which enable them to contribute to one another 's assets as much as possible. NOAA has sole responsibility for the U.S. national archives of space environmental monitoring data and thus for the support of these cooperative efforts. Although DOD, through the Air Force, provides the specific support needed for military applications, it also makes use of NOAA data services and products. The NASA Space Shuttle and future International Space Station operations rely completely on NOAA SEC for their space environment information. Compared with other agencies, NOAA can support only limited actual development of models of the space environment with potential applications to forecasting. However, it is uniquely responsible for the translation of research models into operational tools and for testing and evaluating such tools. NOAA's internal research efforts are focused mainly on problems relating to improved user services. Assessment of NOAA Activities for the Solar Maximum NOAA SEC and NGDC expect to provide the following regular services and products during the increases in solar activity and associated solar-terrestrial/geophysical disturbances that occur throughout an approximately 7-year period surrounding solar maximum: Forecasts of specific solar events such as solar flares, CMEs, and solar proton events; Forecasts of space environment and terrestrial perturbations such as ionospheric and geomagnetic disturbances; Updates and reports on the status of solar-terrestrial phenomena and disturbances, including publication of solar geophysical data bulletins and WWW site space weather reports;

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum Verifications and evaluations of long- and short-term forecasts; Displays of recent data from a selection of available monitors of the space and terrestrial environment; Archives of solar-terrestrial and geomagnetic data; and Incorporation of new and critical data sets into the research and forecast system, including soft x-ray images from a new operational instrument to be sent up on the 1999 GOES. New additions to NOAA's monitoring capability (such as the soft x-ray imager for GOES) are extremely valuable for NOAA's contribution to solar maximum readiness, but there are nonhardware areas of critical importance that also merit attention. In particular, NOAA SEC can lead the development of a state-of-the-art forecast system under the NSWP by implementing and hosting a rapid prototyping center4 for new space weather models and forecast tools. Currently, available resources severely limit NOAA in this endeavor. Since the last solar maximum, the NOAA NGDC and SEC have benefited from technological advances in several ways. It is now much easier to provide real-time data to “nowcast” (i.e., characterize current conditions) and forecast the space weather environment. In particular, the ACE spacecraft will regularly transmit solar wind measurements made at the L1 point upstream of Earth. If resources for continuous transmission and tracking can be found, these real-time data will provide a 1-hour advance warning of interplanetary disturbances destined to affect the geospace environment. Advances in computer technology have increased efficiency in the storage and recall of large geophysical databases. NGDC and SEC have also undergone significant staffing reductions (50% NGDC and 33% at SEC) associated with an overall reduction in the government work force even as they have experienced a hundred-fold increase in their civilian sector customer demands. Current staff levels have been sufficient for responding to data and forecasting requests under current solar minimum conditions. However, they have been inadequate to fully certify the quality of data being distributed to the scientific and commercial communities or to implement new physics-based forecasting models to keep up with advances in understanding of the solar-terrestrial environment. Furthermore, experience gained from the past several solar cycles has demonstrated that as solar activity increases over the next several years, there will be an even greater demand for accurate space environment and geophysical data from NGDC and for accurate forecasts from SEC. Resources currently available within SEC are inadequate for addressing the task of translating knowledge and models from research into operational tools. This will limit SEC's ability to improve its performance in forecasting and also to evaluate the applicability of various available models. At the same time, similar limitations at NGDC will set the turnaround time for the availability of new data for retrospective analyses. Conclusions and Recommendations for NOAA NOAA is the leader of the nation's space environment monitoring program and is central to the interagency NSWP. NOAA has the unique responsibilities of distributing high-quality geophysical data to a broad-based national and international community and providing reliable 4   See Chapter 5, “Technology Transition and Data Management,” The National Space Weather Program: The Implementation Plan, FCM-P31-1997, Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research, Washington, D.C., January 1997.

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum space weather forecasts to the civilian sector. It is also the agency responsible for improving the existing operational space weather monitoring and forecasting system. Although NOAA has made significant advances in the real-time acquisition of important geophysical data for the identification and short-term prediction of space weather disturbances, the agency has not been able to apply these data for use in a modern space environment service. In particular, adequate manpower and computational resources are not available for the translation of modern data-based or theoretical research models to improved monitoring and forecasting tools. The lack of commitment at NOAA to this unique and critical role will have a fundamental impact on the success of the NSWP. As the need for improved space environment information increases with the approach to solar maximum, this unfilled gap will become increasingly apparent. NOAA has national and international responsibility for archiving and disseminating globally acquired space environment and geophysical databases. As such, it must perform some measure of certification on the quality of the data and disseminate these data to requestors quickly. The committees recommend that NOAA, through its Space Environment Center, develop and execute a plan to fulfill its responsibilities within the National Space Weather Program during the coming period of enhanced demand for space environment forecasting services. The committees also recommend that NOAA ensure the certification and prompt dissemination of space environment and geophysical databases through its National Geophysical Data Center. NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION NSF Roles and Responsibilities NSF is the country's primary non-mission-oriented agency supporting fundamental scientific research. As part of NSF's ongoing activity, it has a leading role in fostering the basic research and ground-based facilities related to Sun-Earth interactions. This support includes both major national facilities and individual investigator programs. The research program is funded and coordinated primarily by the Upper Atmosphere Research Section of the Geosciences Directorate. NSF-supported facilities that contribute to the Sun-Earth Connections science efforts include the High Altitude Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, the GONG Helioseismological Observatories, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (responsible for middle-atmosphere research programs), and several radar installations and magnetometer networks around the world. Assessment of NSF Activities for Solar Maximum NSF's capability to exploit scientific targets of opportunity quickly was illustrated recently in the agency's rapid response to the plunge of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 into Jupiter's atmosphere. The agency has currently defined a series of ongoing and new initiatives poised to use the opportunity presented by the upcoming solar maximum. NSF is also one of the initiating, lead agencies for the NSWP, and to date it has committed most of the new resources specifically designated for this interagency initiative. NSF's participation in the NSWP is a key component of its activities related to the new solar maximum.

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum In addition to supporting investigations in its regular programs that are of value to the goals of understanding the Sun and its effects on Earth (e.g., through the regular solar astronomy and solar-terrestrial programs), in FY 1997 NSF competitively awarded some $1.2 million for space-weather-related basic research through the NSWP alone (including $0.2 million from DOD through the Office of Naval Research [ONR] and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research [AFOSR]). The selected NSWP investigations are a balanced collection of complementary investigations relating directly to “space weather” potential applications, including aeronomic, magnetospheric, heliospheric, and solar components. The agency and its DOD partners also plan to make comparable NSWP awards again in FY 1998. In about 3 to 5 years the basic research is expected to produce results that will improve space weather predictive capability and the use of space weather information. Officials who briefed the committees recognized the importance of continuing to build the momentum of the NWSP well into the solar maximum. The NSF Upper Atmosphere Research Section will continue its ongoing support of basic research in solar-terrestrial sciences, including studies of the Sun, solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, and upper atmosphere. It will support theoretical and ground-based observational research in these areas, as well as a strong modeling component. NSF plans to continue its support of the Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR), GEM, and Sun's Radiative Inputs from Sun to Earth (SUNRISE) programs and to use them to maximize the scientific return presented by the solar maximum. These programs, which focus on upper atmosphere, magnetosphere, and solar radiative variability aspects of the solar-terrestrial system, include both sponsored research and open workshops. The SHINE working group, which represents a counterpart of the above-mentioned programs for solar/heliospheric space weather discussions, is also supplemented by the Upper Atmosphere Research Section, although it is not specifically an NSF activity. The new approved facility known as the Polar Cap Observatory (PCO) should become operational in time to make valuable contributions to observing the geosystem response to the upcoming solar maximum. This facility will include state-of-the-art radar and other aeronomical instrumentation, with an unprecedented ability to probe the polar cap atmosphere and ionosphere. If NASA's TIMED mission stays on schedule, coordinated PCO-TIMED measurements can be used to diagnose the coupled thermosphere-ionosphere-mesosphere system. NSF and NASA are already working together actively toward maximizing the combined scientific return of the TIMED/CEDAR programs. For the first time, NSF's Upper Atmosphere Research Section facilities are being recognized as a fundamental “additional instrument” in a space program. Finally, NSF is the primary steward of ground-based solar observatories, including the National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico, and Kitt Peak, Arizona, and the Mt. Wilson, Wilcox, and Big Bear Observatories in California. These facilities are currently being reviewed by a separate NRC task group that was created in response to concerns about the “health” of ground-based solar research in the United States.5 Here the committees simply acknowledge the importance of these facilities both for the contextual information provided by their cumulative databases and for their unique instrumentation and capabilities. 5   The committee's review of agency activities does not include an assessment of the current capabilities and future options for ground-based optical and radio solar observatories. In particular, the present report does not make recommendations related to the NSF-funded National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico, and Kitt Peak, Arizona. Such an assessment is being performed as part of an ongoing National Research Council study by the Space Studies Board's Task Group on Ground-based Solar Research (TGGSR).

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum Conclusions and Recommendations for NSF Overall, NSF appears well prepared to face the scientific opportunities and technological challenges of the upcoming solar maximum. The committees thus primarily encourage NSF to continue its efforts and to supplement them as much as possible. The committees recommend that NSF continue its leadership role in the National Space Weather Program and champion stronger interagency involvement in the NSWP to maximize the nation's benefit from the program during the solar maximum. The committees also recommend that NSF consider initiating interagency discussion of a specific solar maximum campaign similar to that developed for the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 event. As noted above, the committees do not make recommendations about the future of the NSF-funded ground-based observatories as these are the subject of an ongoing NRC study. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE DOD Roles and Responsibilities DOD supports space environmental observing, forecasting, and research focused on improving the effectiveness and robustness of military operational systems. These systems include spacecraft (primarily provided by the Air Force and the Navy), ground-based communications and navigation links, and numerous installations dedicated to surveillance and monitoring. Day-to-day space weather services (including observations, forecasts, and warnings) are provided by the 55th Space Weather Squadron (SWS; formerly the 50th Weather Squadron) at Falcon AFB, Colorado. The 55th SWS makes use of the data services of NOAA's SEC in Boulder. The related space physics research activities are shared by the Air Force and the Navy through the Air Force Phillips Laboratory and the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and through their externally funded research programs administered by the AFOSR and the ONR. The Navy's research effort is concentrated at NRL and is based largely on space experiments funded by NASA. The situation at NRL is unique because of the “corporate laboratory” type of organization it has adopted. The NRL staff scientists can compete for and carry out investigations on NASA missions. Other support comes indirectly from the ONR through the NRL director 's office that receives proposals from NRL scientists. The two primary areas of focus at NRL relevant to the solar maximum are solar physics and upper-atmosphere physics. The Air Force research effort currently is concentrated in the Geophysics Directorate of Phillips Laboratory at Hanscom AFB. The Space Effects Division operates in a more agency-specific manner in that projects generally originate with the Air Force, with more restricted civilian program involvement. However, there are collaborations on spacecraft instrumentation with other agencies such as NASA and NOAA, through which Air Force needs can best be met. Funds also have been available to bring the expertise of external researchers to bear on Air Force projects, although these funds have been sharply reduced of late. The previous program of external funding was focused on designing operational models for space weather services. The 55th SWS was to be the beneficiary of these programs, although it is managed and operated separately from the Phillips Laboratory 's Geophysics Directorate. There are also researchers at

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum the Aerospace Corporation (a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the Air Force) who participate in NASA Sun-Earth Connection missions and also advise the Air Force on space weather and related issues. The DOD benefits from and contributes to the science and technology relevant to the next solar maximum. The benefits derive primarily from NASA, which provides many of the basic measurements needed for interpretation of ongoing conditions and accurate forecasting; NOAA, which supplies expertise in empirical, rule-based forecasting with its experienced staff at SEC, as well as a space environment data resource; NSF, which fosters long-term investment in the basic science needed to improve the models used as the basis for characterization and forecasting tools; and DOE, which has made a long-term commitment to space-based measurements, especially at geosynchronous orbit. DOD in return contributes access to DOD-sponsored models, data sets, and ground-based solar observatories and makes occasional investments in other-agency facilities in exchange for access to them and their products. Assessment of DOD Activities for the Solar Maximum Because of the quite distinct programs of the Air Force and the Navy, the two are presented separately in this section to give a more specific and accurate assessment. Air Force The Air Force has primary responsibility for providing space environment services to DOD through the 55th Space Weather Squadron. In addition, the Space Sciences Laboratory of the Aerospace Corporation provides special services related to space system survivability. This includes flight system design consultation and testing, as well as troubleshooting of on-orbit operations anomalies. Both the Aerospace Corporation and the Phillips Laboratory's Geophysics Directorate6 provide for routine space environment measurements on DOD spacecraft. The impact of space weather on DOD missions exceeds $0.5 billion per year. These effects include degradation of targeting (~$80M/yr); disruption of satellite operations (~$200M/yr), interruption of communications (~$120M/yr), introduction of navigational uncertainty (~$90M/yr), and increased errors in tracking space debris (~$30M/yr). Military operations have become increasingly dependent on electronically sensitive space and ground systems, which are vulnerable to space weather disruptions. 7 Although space weather has a continuous impact on DOD missions, the rate of disruptive events increases at solar maximum. For example, the incidence of long-haul communications disruptions increases 30-fold from solar minimum to maximum. Disruptions of satellite operations occur throughout the solar cycle, averaging three per month, but are more severe during the half of the cycle centered at the solar maximum. The number of anomalies per satellite per year increased from two at the previous solar minimum in 1985 to seven at the solar maximum in 1991. Furthermore, as DOD has moved toward the use of commercial-grade computer chips (rather than the radiation-hardened chips used during the Cold War era), the overall susceptibility to problems has doubled. Accordingly, the DOD is anticipating that the 6   The Air Force restructured its Research Laboratory in October 1997. The activities of the Geophysics Directorate of the Phillips Laboratory are now under the Battlespace Environment Division of the Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory. 7   Briefings by Col. Thomas Tascione (videoconference) and Lt. Col. Al Ronn to the Committee on Solar and Space Physics and the Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Research, March 12, 1996, Irvine, California.

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum coming solar maximum will have more disruptive impacts than any previous one. Many specific actions are being taken in preparation for the expected increased demand for information on solar activity and the space environment: An upgrade of the observatories within the Solar Electro Optical Network—improving resolution in both radio and telescopic capabilities for flare locations and intensity monitoring; An upgrade of the Digital Ionospheric Sensing System—providing both higher time resolution and more global coverage for establishing current state-of-ionosphere conditions; A contribution to the U.S. Geological Survey ground-based magnetometer network for real-time computation of critical geomagnetic indices (Kp and Dst).8 Installation of a Scintillation Network Decision Aid for short-range forecasting of ionospheric scintillation; An upgrade of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program special sensor systems for solar irradiance and ionospheric monitoring; A contribution to developing a solar x-ray imager for the NOAA GOES satellite before solar maximum; A contribution to NASA's ACE mission that is helping to provide real-time solar wind monitoring; 9 An addition of radiation-belt particle sensor systems to GPS satellites; and An upgrade of computers at 55th SWS, together with an accelerated translation of science models to operational models, as well as development of an updated system for customer support. Navy Navy capabilities relevant to the solar maximum include space observations, ground observations, data analysis, and theory and modeling. The two areas of specialization within NRL and ONR are solar physics and upper atmosphere physics. The NRL solar program's major areas of emphasis are solar flares, CMEs, solar radiation variability, and solar magnetic field measurements. In space observations, NRL is currently involved in several instruments ideally suited for studying flares and CMEs. NRL is the 8   Geomagnetic disturbances can be monitored by ground-based magnetic observatories recording the horizontal magnetic field components. The global or planetary Kp index is obtained as the mean value of the disturbance levels observed at selected, subauroral stations. The Dst index monitors the variations of the globally symmetrical ring current, which encircles Earth close to the magnetic equator in the radiation belt of the magnetosphere. During large magnetic storms the signature of the ring current can be seen in ground magnetic field recordings. 9   On January 21, 1998, the Real-Time Solar Wind (RTSW) system developed by NOAA's Space Environment Center (SEC) became operational. These data will be used to assist NOAA in forecasting space weather, including geomagnetic storms. From its location near the L1 point 1.5 × 106 km sunward of Earth, ACE can provide up to a 1-hour advance warning of solar wind structures, including coronal mass ejections. The USAF 's Air Force Satellite Control Network tracks ACE during time that is not covered by dedicated ground systems in Japan and Great Britain. Officials at NOAA SEC anticipate that continuous 24-hour/day coverage of ACE will be available by June 1998; currently there is usually greater than 85 percent coverage. NOAA's objective to process data and have it available for operations within 5 minutes from the time it leaves ACE has already been achieved; alerts and warnings in real time from the ACE RTSW data are expected by summer 1998. More detailed information on the RTSW system and ACE can be found on the World Wide Web at <http://www.srl.caltech.edu/ACE/ ACENews8.html>.

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator institution for several experiments on the Yohkoh and SOHO missions, including the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph Experiment (LASCO) coronagraphs on SOHO. LASCO was funded primarily by NASA but relied heavily on technology from Navy programs, as did the Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) on SOHO, on which NRL collaborated. In addition, NRL is the PI institution for a gamma-ray experiment on CGRO that can detect the highest-energy gamma rays from flares. In solar ground-based observations, the Navy does not operate ground research observatories but, through ONR, funds a significant effort at Wilcox Observatory, Mt. Wilson, Big Bear, and the National Solar Observatory. The Navy contributions help provide daily measurements of the photospheric magnetic field. In solar data analysis, in conjunction with the instrument effort, there is a large NRL program funded jointly by NASA and the Navy. The effort is especially strong in spectroscopy and studies the origin of solar UV and x-ray bursts. Both EIT and LASCO observations are being used to determine the origins of CMEs and the slow solar wind. The EIT data are also being used in solar UV and EUV radiation studies. In solar theory and modeling, NRL supports a major numerical simulation effort. This program focuses on interpretation of the space observations and relies heavily on numerical technology developed at NRL for both NASA and DOD programs. The NRL contribution also includes a data-based solar wind modeling effort, which is now being translated to an operational system at NOAA using ONR support, and an effort to simulate propagation of CMEs from the Sun to Earth. Another activity is solar irradiance modeling to develop ground-based proxies for solar UV-EUV radiation that are important to the Navy upper-atmosphere program described below. In upper-atmosphere space observations, NRL is supplying operational space weather sensors for the DMSP weather satellites that will fly between 2000 and 2010. These sensors use EUV/far ultraviolet spectrographs to measure profiles of electron and neutral densities sensitive to solar forcing. The data will be archived by NOAA and the Air Force and will be available to the general community. NRL is also supplying experiments for the USAF Space Test Program's Advanced Research and Global Observations Satellite (ARGOS). ARGOS is scheduled for launch in August 1998, and its planned lifetime includes the solar maximum. Relevant experiments on ARGOS include a set of limb-scanning UV spectrographs, UV cameras for imaging airglows and aurora, an x-ray detector to measure neutral density profiles using x-ray occultation, and a dual-frequency radio beacon for use in upper-atmosphere tomography reconstructions. In upper-atmosphere, ground-based observations, the Navy program is mainly an external effort funded by ONR. The program is geared toward global specification of the ionosphere using radio tomographic measurements, a technique that relies on space-based radio beacons such as those in the GPS. In upper-atmosphere theory and data analysis, the Navy activity is aimed at creating global specification maps of physical parameters such as temperatures, velocities, and composition from remote-sensing data. These results are then used to validate and improve empirical and first-principle models. This joint activity involves researchers at NRL and external model builders at sites including Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. In addition, there is a basic physics theory effort aimed at understanding and predicting ionospheric disturbances, such as those that cause scintillation.

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum Conclusions and Recommendations for DOD Although the DOD preparations and activities are notable for their breadth and forethought, some program areas might benefit from reassessment. In particular, the Air Force has invested primarily in space hardware at the expense of basic research and analysis. Budget cuts in its remaining research programs will likely result in inadequate returns on the hardware investments. Like NOAA, DOD in general has not recognized the critical need for investment in the translating of data-based and theoretical research models into operational ones (e.g., a rapid prototyping center operation within DOD was never established). Although movements toward resolving this omission are under way, there is no mechanism for implementing the solution within the DOD framework. There is also a problem of education and “corporate memory,” both for the customers and for the 55th SWS staff (which, because of Air Force staffing policies, has a turnover rate much shorter than a solar cycle). This hardware investment strategy has meant that older operational systems are marginally upgraded rather than replaced with newer, more capable ones. In particular, DOD continues to rely on proxies and rules of thumb where physics-based models and direct measurements can now be employed. The committees' findings and recommendations include two issues relating to both the Air Force and Navy: Although the continued operation of Yohkoh, SOHO, and the other ISTP experiments through the solar maximum is NASA's responsibility, the committees recommend that DOD make its reliance on these missions (especially for solar and interplanetary observations) known to NASA. The continuing participation in and support for the National Space Weather Program on the part of both the Air Force and the Navy are critical to that program's success. The committees recommend that this participation be strengthened through joint endeavors such as the development of rapid prototyping systems for space environment forecasting. Specific recommendations for the Air Force programs during the solar maximum include the following: Further integrate the Air Force efforts with the National Space Weather Program, both to take advantage of the NSWP products and to provide insight on tools useful to the NSWP. This involvement would also provide ongoing peer review of those DOD efforts that can be discussed in an open forum, ensuring that DOD's investment will result in the greatest possible benefits. Reassess the support and plans for the 55th Space Weather Squadron to ensure that the squadron will be well prepared for the demands of the upcoming solar maximum. This includes provisions for access to state-of-the-art knowledge and forecasting tools. The committee's recommendations for the Navy solar maximum program include the following:

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum Consider an accelerated research initiative in solar physics to take advantage of the large data sets expected from the Yohkoh and SOHO experiments during the solar maximum, so that knowledge gained can be rapidly put to use. Sponsor or cosponsor a community guest investigator program for collaborations on analysis and interpretation of the data from the Navy solar and upper-atmosphere experiments. By enhancing the productivity of these experiments and bringing in useful external expertise, such a program would help speed the National Space Weather Program's rapid application of new knowledge. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY DOE Roles and Responsibilities DOE is responsibile for verification of compliance with the nuclear test ban treaties and for monitoring for the proliferation of nuclear materials and weapons. The department executes this responsibility in part through a suite of space-based, remote-sensing instruments. These instruments and their space platforms are potentially susceptible to space environmental effects, including false signals, single-event upsets, communication interruptions, and spacecraft failures. The probability of such deleterious effects rises as solar activity increases. To ensure confidence in the primary mission measurements, DOE flies energetic-particle and plasma sensors to monitor the space environment. This activity is carried out primarily by DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which also is responsible for the primary mission measurements. Data from the environmental monitors are supplied in near-real time to both NOAA SEC and the Air Force 55th Space Weather Squadron and are crucial in specifying and forecasting conditions in the space environment. In addition, at LANL, DOE maintains its expertise in the analysis and interpretation of environmental data as well as space theory and modeling. Finally, with support from NASA, these data are supplied for use in NASA's ISTP program. Historically, the space environment monitoring task at LANL has been carried out synergistically with a program of basic research funded by NASA. One element of this program relevant to readiness for the solar maximum is LANL's participation in the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE). The solar wind experiment for ACE is conducted by LANL. Data from this experiment will be supplied to NOAA in real time for space weather predictions and will also be used for a variety of scientific studies during the solar maximum. Assessment of DOE Activities for the Solar Maximum Although DOE does not have a particular program targeted for the solar maximum, it has committed to continuing to field space environmental sensors as a part of its ongoing space programs and to support ongoing and expeditious analysis and distribution of those data. Also, as noted above, through LANL, DOE will provide real-time solar wind data from ACE for both scientific purposes and space weather forecasting, as well as the expertise needed to interpret the data. Finally, DOE will continue to maintain its expertise in flight hardware, data analysis and interpretation, and theory required to support its space-based activities. DOE's intention to continue its current space environment monitoring and research activities is a realistic agency response to the challenge posed by the solar maximum and the use of its space-based assets. In addition, the committees believe that DOE should concern itself

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Readiness for the Upcoming Solar Maximum with the threat to electrical power distribution posed by the rise in solar activity associated with the solar maximum. No other national agency has yet addressed this need, which is appropriately connected with the issue of energy. Conclusions and Recommendations for DOE Although DOE has reasons for its highly targeted commitment to the space environment endeavor, the committees believe that with minimal disruption of the status quo, DOE's contribution to the solar maximum activities described herein can be enhanced. The committees recommend that DOE participate in the dialogue of the interagency coordinating committee for the National Space Weather Program and reassess its own role in that activity (e.g., in the area of power transmission). The committees also recommend that DOE continue its support for the flight of space radiation monitors, together with support for making its data available to the community at large, with special expediency during the solar maximum.