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Eutelsat OneWeb and Imperial College London collaborate on space weather monitoring

UK-based subsidiary of the Eutelsat Group, Eutelsat OneWeb, is working with Imperial College London to monitor the changing conditions in near-Earth space.

Armita Satari

December 5, 2023

2 Min Read
A magnetosphere image of earth

Also known as space weather, even modest changes in the conditions in near-Earth space can affect satellite operations and monitoring. Eutelsat OneWeb, who provides satellite broadband through Low Earth Orbit (LEO), hopes the capabilities of its LEO satellite constellation will enable global space monitoring.

The goal of the collaboration though is to help protect not only satellite operations but also power, communications, navigation and transport systems. This is because space weather can impact a satellite’s electronics and orbits, leading to disruptions in communications reception and power grids on Earth, alongside a host of other hazards on critical systems.

Global space weather monitoring is critical in mitigating the effects in real time and improving our understanding of how and why these risks occur, the press release claims.

Leading the project from Imperial College will be Dr. Martin Archer, an advanced research fellow at the university who will work alongside Eutelsat OneWeb to investigate data captured from the magnetometer equipment used aboard Eutelsat OneWeb’s satellites for controlling their orientation.

In order to prevent interruptions to technology both in orbit and on earth and to help improve space weather predictions, the project will make use of the magnetometer sensors which can help detect magnetic signals. These in turn will unravel any previously unobserved evolving patterns caused by space weather globally.

“This fellowship will revolutionise space weather monitoring by harnessing data from the hundreds of satellites in orbit around our planet, thanks to the constellation launched by Eutelsat OneWeb,” said Archer.

“This unprecedented amount of data, distributed globally in space will enable us to monitor space weather better than ever before, boosting our ability to mitigate this hazard to society. It will also provide researchers with crucial observations to unveil how space weather works, improving our ability to predict its effects upon our everyday lives.”

Eutelsat OneWeb’s Vice President New Markets, Maurizio Vanotti, said the space industry bears a “responsibility to work sustainably, and to advance causes that can positively help solve some of the world’s most challenging problems.”

“Space weather is certainly one of these societal challenges, even modest space weather can affect our satellite operations. We are committed to enabling this ambitious research and innovation at the intersection of academia and business and we look forward to working together to see how our vast data capabilities can help inform our actions in the future.”

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