Space weather readiness is in our national interest

By 2030, the global space industry could add nearly 50,000 new commercial satellites to the existing 5,000 bases. These include land surveillance satellites that sell commercial images, telecom orbiters that provide 5G and Next-in-line 6G data services, and meteorologists that sell weather forecasts and datasets. These services are based on choreographed satellite constellations and can earn many billions of dollars.

The reliance on the digital economy over satellite constellations encourages investment in the region. But investors need to be careful: it’s not safe. The most obvious celestial threat to traffic accidents: collisions between satellites orbiting dense orbits can cause massive floating space debris. The 2020 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development report estimates that it will cost the space mission 5-10% more to protect satellites from space debris. Therefore, commercial organizations that provide prognosis through land-based debris tracking and situation awareness systems have emerged. Some even provide co-orbital robots to deal with space debris.

Another threat to satellite galaxies is extreme space weather events, and this cannot be solved by space and digital players alone. It seeks the attention of governments.

Last October, the US Congress passed a law directing civil and military agencies to strengthen their national space weather forecasting capabilities. In addition to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other government agencies, the U.S. Air Force and Navy are also involved.

As a U.S. military force, it relies on Pentagon reconnaissance aircraft, naval carrier groups, submarines, fighter jets, helicopters, and satellites for reconnaissance and attack drones, with armed bases around the world. Mobile platforms. Disruptions caused by the space environment can threaten these assets and compromise operations. The U.S. Geological Survey also monitors space weather events, their impact on civilian operations, from high energy transmission and navigation systems on land to oil and gas pipelines and utility infrastructure. In addition to NASA, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration monitors the Sun for geomagnetic storms, coronal mass ejections and radiation and other high-energy particles that disrupt satellites and the Earth’s infrastructure. New law enforcement is overseen by the White House Office of Science and Technology policy.

Other countries have other policies. When China rebuilt its armed forces in 2015, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) transferred its weather, hydrological and space weather command from the General Staff Department to the PLA Strategic Support Force, the second being cyber, space and e-war.

There are lessons to be learned in New Delhi. India’s economy is expected to be highly dependent on space- and land-based commercial, civilian and military assets. These are subject to extreme space weather events. India therefore needs a law like America to issue cross-ministerial directives. It will enable India to fulfill its blue-navy naval aspirations, maintain a domestic satellite navigation system, maintain road, rail, fuel, telecom, shipping and aviation infrastructure, respond to natural disasters and prevent national security threats-comprehensive national .

India is growing rapidly with its capital-intensive planetary exploration and human space-flight projects. Consequently, it is imperative for the government to develop and follow space weather forecasts before launching space operations.

Although our country is moving forward with its Gaganyan program and aspires to establish an Indian space center by 2030, we must deploy space-weather monitoring, forecasting and response systems designed to protect deep space assets and protect our spacecraft.

India already has scientists who have observed the sun and its inherent physical behavior, its solar storms and coronal mass ejections and its surface and ‘helio’ seismic activity. The Indian Scientific Society operates a number of land-based ‘solar observation’ telescopes throughout India and is well connected with its international counterparts. The Aditya-L1 space-based solar observatory is expected to be launched in the coming months, perhaps by the end of 2021, with the help of the Indian Space Research Organization. The data generated by this will be crucial to India’s space climate monitoring objectives. But without a legitimate national policy, the scientific community would find it difficult to meet the strategic demands of the US space and digital economies.

There is a paradigm shift in India’s overall government policy on disaster response and humanitarian assistance, such as resolving natural disasters such as earthquakes and preparing for hurricanes, floods and tsunamis. The Act of the Space Meteorological Act, like India’s 2005 Disaster Management Act, will help protect the country and its digital and telecom systems from destructive solar storms and severe solar and galaxy radiation splashes to outer space.

Gateway House, Chaitanya Giri Fellow for Space and Marine Studies

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