Vigil will provide more accurate warning of impending solar storms to help protect satellites in space and electronics on Earth

Brussels 22 May 2024 – Airbus has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to design and build the space weather forecasting satellite Vigil, the first operational mission in ESA’s Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Space Safety Programme (S2P). The spacecraft will give vital extra warning to Earth about incoming solar storms and coronal mass ejections which can potentially disrupt satellites in orbit and electronic and power distribution systems on Earth.

Patrick Wood, Head of Space Systems UK, Airbus Defence and Space said: “Vigil is one of the most exciting and important space missions that will not only improve our understanding of the Sun’s behaviour but crucially provide us with earlier warning and greater precision about potentially damaging solar weather. Space weather forecasters will be able to see what is coming from the Sun and provide more accurate alerts.”

Andrew Griffith MP, Minister for Space at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: “Space weather generates stunning phenomena like the recent displays of the Northern lights over our skies – but it also presents a real risk to our way of life which is increasingly dependent on space and satellite services. The Vigil mission will transform our understanding of the impact of potentially dangerous solar events and I congratulate Airbus here in the UK on taking the lead in this important mission.”

“Vigil will be Europe’s first 24/7 operational space weather satellite, providing valuable time to protect critical infrastructure such as power grids or mobile communication networks on Earth as well as valuable satellites in Earth orbit, including the International Space Station ISS,” said Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General. “Vigil will drastically improve both the lead time of space weather warnings as well as their level of detail from its unique vantage point in deep space.”

Vigil will be positioned at Lagrange point L5 on the same orbit as the Earth, 150 million km behind it as the Earth orbits the Sun. This will enable Vigil to see the Sun as it rotates, and see the size and speed of solar weather heading towards the Earth. Data from Vigil could provide notice of four to five days of solar winds streaming toward Earth.

Release and image Airbus

Bir yanıt yazın

E-posta adresiniz yayınlanmayacak. Gerekli alanlar * ile işaretlenmişlerdir