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The Solar Wind Monitor for ESA’s enhanced space-weather monitoring system

Dhiren Kataria - Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London; Hubert Hu - Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, United Kingdom; Richard Cole - Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, United Kingdom

Session: Space Weather Instrumentation


ESA’s Space Safety & Security activities are aimed at monitoring and mitigating the impact of space hazards to critical infrastructure. One of the cornerstones of these activities is development of a Space Weather monitoring system. A significant undertaking towards this is a mission to the L5 Sun-Earth Lagrange point. A complement of remote-sensing instruments and a suite of in-situ instruments is planned, with Phase A/B1 studies nearing completion this year. The in-situ suite studied consisted of 5 instruments, a Magnetometer, a Solar Wind Monitor, a Medium Energy Particle Spectrometer, a Radiation Monitor and an X-ray Flux Monitor.

This paper will discuss the Plasma Analyser (PLA), the suite’s solar wind monitor. The instrument is an enhanced performance top-hat type electrostatic analyser, designed to measure ions at energies between 50 eV to 33 keV (~100 km/s to 2500 km/s). PLA draws on significant heritage from the SWA instrument suite currently on-board the Solar Orbiter mission, particularly the EAS sensor built at MSSL. Design details will be presented and key challenges in meeting the measurement requirements and mission goals will be discussed. Current status of a number of pre-development activities initiated to raise TRL will also be presented.

Approaching deadlines:

Registration opens:

16 July 2020

Abstract submission opens:

16 July 2020

European Space Weather Medals:

6 September 2020

Registration deadline:

25 September 2020

Registration deadline: [extended]

10 October 2020

Abstract submission deadline:

4 September 2020