EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Nowcasting the Orbit Decay of Earth orbiting Satellites

Lukas Drescher1, Sofia Kroisz1, Manuela Temmer1, Sandro Krauss2, Barbara Suesser-Rechberger2, Saniya Behzadpour2, and Torsten Mayer-Guerr2
Lukas Drescher et al.
  • 1Institute of Physics, University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  • 2Institute of Geodesy, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria

The FFG funded project SWEETS (space weather effects on low Earth orbiting satellites) covers the analysis of a large sample of more than 300 ICMEs (interplanetary coronal mass ejections) from 2002 to 2017 and how they relate to the orbit decay of satellites. Based on the results by Krauss et al. (2018, 2020), we investigate the correlation between the interplanetary magnetic field of ICMEs and the variation of the neutral density in the thermosphere. So far, the satellite drops were calculated from either accelerometer measurements or kinematic orbits for the satellite GRACE at a height of approximately 490 km. Presently, we are working on constructing kinematic orbits for satellites in various heights so we will be able to cover altitudes between 300 to 800 km and a wider timeframe. The algorithm is also going to be improved with respect to multiple ICME events and the calculation of a so-called “effective Bz” component and its duration.

With the correlation and the real-time in-situ magnetic field data from satellites at L1 we were able to construct a nowcast. The nowcast algorithm is the basis of a new service called SODA (Satellite Orbit DecAy) which will be implemented in the ESA Space Safety Program (Ionospheric Weather Expert Service Center).

How to cite: Drescher, L., Kroisz, S., Temmer, M., Krauss, S., Suesser-Rechberger, B., Behzadpour, S., and Mayer-Guerr, T.: Nowcasting the Orbit Decay of Earth orbiting Satellites, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2776,, 2022.

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