The ESA-SSA Ionosphere Expert Service Centre

Currently, a Space Weather Network is established in the frame of the Space Situation Awareness Programme (SSA) of ESA. It consists of five Expert Service Centres (ESCs), an SSA SWE Coordination Centre (SSCC) and a data centre. One of the five ESCs is the Ionosphere ESC, which is addressing the needs of users of radio signal based applications (e.g. GNSS) and the needs of the SSA Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) segment. In September 2015, the definition and development activity for the five Expert Service Centers started. Within the ESCs, there are five core tasks to be performed during this activity. First, a definition and development plan is established, which describes the mission, goals and planned developments in the ESC. The Ionosphere ESC uses not only the knowledge of its expert groups, but also the recommendations from its advisory board to establish its definition and development plan. Second, initial space weather services, which were already developed in the preparatory phase of SSA, are provided. The Ionosphere ESC started with the provision of 19 products. Third, testing activities are demonstrating the performance and quality of each product. Within the Ionosphere ESC, the provision of quality products is an initial step for quality control. Furthermore, a cross validation campaign for the multiple TEC maps provided in the Ionosphere ESC will show, which product is most suitable for different use cases. Fourth, multiple development activities of products are enhancing the service provision. In the Ionosphere ESC the provision of near real time data from additional receivers in the remote locations of Greenland is enhancing the quality of TEC maps and scintillation maps. The integration of additional products from the parallel MONITOR activity and from the expert groups is enhancing the provision of ionospheric disturbance products. A new dedicated data base for historic solar and geomagnetic indices is developed for the applications in the SST segment. By 2017, the I-ESC will have extended its list of products to a number of 34. Fifth and finally, the ESCs are engaged in networking activities to extend the current SSA SWE Network. Currently, the Ionosphere ESC is collaborating with the parallel SSA P2-SWE-II activity and the ESA MONITOR activity.

Contact Claudia Borries