Welcome

Statement on Space Weather at the 56th session of the Scientific-Technical Sub-Committee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS)

Speech

56th Session, Vienna, 11 February -22 February 2019 - Germany                          

Item 10: Space weather

Madam Chair,

Distinguished Delegates,

Society becomes increasingly dependent on space-based systems. Therefore it is vital to understand how Space weather, caused by solar variability, affects space systems and human space flight, electric power transmission, as well as global navigation satellite system (GNSS) signals.


Considering the growing importance of space weather information for the modern society, the German Federal Government decided to establish a new institute of the German Aerospace Center, DLR. Its research will focus on phenomena involving solar and cosmic radiation, particle flows in space and how these phenomena may influence human made systems. The institute will build on existing DLR research on Space Weather and will be in charge of coordinating and providing Space Weather information and services for GNSS users under the Pan-European Consortium for Aviation Space Weather User Services (PECASUS).


PECASUS has been designated in 2018 by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to operate one of the three global Space Weather Service Centers. It will support aviation with observations and forecasts on near-Earth space and atmospheric conditions during strong solar storms. It represents extensive technical and scientific expertise across European space weather institutions from nine countries. Their collaboration is based on a history of strong partnerships including joint projects in the framework of the Space Situational Awareness program coordinated by the European Space Agency.

Madam Chair,

Distinguished Delegates,

International cooperation in research and development activities in the field of monitoring space weather events is important to all nations to understand both the driver of space weather and the impacts on earth and space.

It is one of our special concerns to support training and education programmes that contribute to concrete advancements in this field. Let me just briefly name some recent developments in the field:

  1. The DLR continuously contributes to the ‘International Space Weather Initiative’ initiated by COPUOS several years ago. Within this international coordination project a web platform is hosted via the student’s project SOFIE for uploading, downloading, visualizing, analysing and archiving observation data. Via the DLR Project_Lab a robust Very Long Frequency receiver has been developed, successfully tested and is now in operation at several schools in Germany and abroad.
  2. Additionally, the German Aerospace Center contributes to the ‘International Space Weather Initiative’ with the „Global Ionospheric Flare Detection System“ in close collaboration with research institutes in USA and Taiwan. This system shall for instance provide real time warnings of rapid solar radiation bursts like solar flares.

Finally I would like to emphasize that Germany recognizes the need for close international collaboration and data exchange to mitigate potential space weather threats in a proper way. We therefore support the UN-COPUOS efforts in enhancing and coordinating international space weather activities and in building up a dedicated international coordination group for space weather, which could deliver improved international collaboration and coordination for improved space weather services and ultimately enhance global resiliency against the adverse effects of space weather.

Madam Chair, distinguished Delegates,

We thank you for your kind attention.


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