Topical Discussion Meeting - Space Weather impacts to Low-Earth Orbit satellite operations

Tom Berger (Univ of Colorado), Sean Elvidge (Univ of Birmingham)
Tue, 10:45-12:00, Earth

We propose a discussion on the unique space weather impacts in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) environment and the user requirements for better forecasting and nowcasting services. The loss of 40 Starlink satellites due to excessive satellite drag in February 2022 emphasises that space weather can have significant impacts to the LEO environment even during minor events like the 03--04 G1 geomagnetic storm. In addition to the better-known thermosphere density impacts in LEO, space weather events can also cause significant satellite navigational impacts to satellites with GNSS loss-of-lock occurring over significant portions of orbits below 800 km during geomagnetic storms. We will discuss these and other impacts to orbital operations, tracking, and collision avoidance as well as the needs for new forecasting and nowcasting systems to prevent even greater impacts during the potential extreme geomagnetic storms that may occur as Solar Cycle 25 approaches its maximum activity phase.