Space weather phenomena such as solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and associated solar particle events (SPEs) can damage critical space-based and terrestrial infrastructure. Operators of such systems are in critical need of a capability to forecast major space weather storms and potential effects towards risk mitigation. Currently available tools are research-oriented and may not be suitable for operational use. CFD Research and the University of Alabama in Huntsville propose to develop a novel Radiation, Interplanetary Shocks, and Coronal Sources (RISCS) toolset by enhancing and integrating existing research codes into a software product for situational assessment and decision making related to space operations. Key technology features and innovations include: (1) efficient coupling between component codes that describe inner heliosphere and transport of solar energetic particles; (2) modularity via standardized interfaces for data exchange and user interfaces; (3) development in consultation with NASA and selected end users; (4) improved component codes numerical and physics models; (5) customized configuration of final product for transition to end user operations (R2O/O2R). In Phase I, we will (1) identify potential ends users and technology transition avenues; (2) derive RISCS design requirements t for operational use; (3) characterize features, performance, and limitations of existing space weather modeling software; (4) enhance RISCS toolset via improved interfaces for data exchange, user input, etc.; (5) demonstrate operational performance of a toolset prototype and derive plans for continued R2O/O2R. During Phase II, we will improve component codes numerical/physics models, extensively test RISCS to improve error detection and handling, demonstrate modularity via swap-out of component codes, run end-to-end simulations of the modular code to demonstrate that RISCS meets the specified design requirements, customize and deliver RISCS to selected end user.
This topic directly addresses NASA’s R2O/O2R responsibilities outlined in the NSWAP, specifically their goal to understand the Sun and its interactions with Earth, including space weather. It also supports NASA SMD’s goal to coordinate efforts to prepare the nation for space weather events, and is aligned with Technology Roadmap TA-11 (11.2.0 on Modeling). The developed RISCS toolkit will support mission operations by forecasting all-clear periods and the occurrence and effects of SPEs to allow implementation of mitigation solutions.
A predictive capability for SPE-induced radiation and resulting operational effects can help mission/equipment managers schedule tasks and adopt risk mitigation strategies. Directly relevant to DoD agencies and commercial entities with space-based or high-altitude assets (e.g., satellites), commercial aviation, navigation/GPS, radio communications, utilities/power transmission, oil pipelines.