IntroductionAs the number of European space missions will increase in the future, so will their sensitivity to the space environment due to developments in technology such a miniturisation. In addition, manned space programmes such as the ISS need detailed knowledge of the space environment in order to plan activities such as EVAs. For these reasons and others, it has become apparent that understanding of the space environment must be given high priority. The importance of international collaborative efforts involving historical data, models, near real-time data from spacecraft, ground-based observatories and simulations is essential, in order to establish a space environment prediction system of value to the whole space weather community, including both scientists and engineers.
The ESA Space Weather Web Server is an initiative of the ESA Space Environments and Effects Analysis Section at ESTEC and is under construction and we welcome any comments or suggestions that you may have. One of the main aims of this Server is to stimulate and connect the European Space Weather community, while also including world-wide efforts that have already been initiated in this field. The Server was originally inspired by the first "ESA Workshop on Space Weather", that took place at ESTEC, Noordwijk from the 11 to13 Nov. 1998.
In order to futher stimulate the European space weather community, we also produce a regular email newsletter, Space Weather Euro News (SWEN), which aims to circulate news of interest to the community in Europe and promote collaboration between readers.
Following the success of the original ESA Workshop in space weather, that took place in 1998, ESTEC has hosted a further two space weather workshops and E. Daly is currently the main scientific organiser of the joint COSPAR/IAA Space Weather: Research and Applications session of the 2002 World Space Congress to be held in Houston, Texas.
ESA has also been active in investigating the need within Europe for increased space weather activities. In 1999, ESA embarked on two parallel studies of space weather. These studies were carried out by consortia led by Alcatel-Space and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). The studies performed wide ranging analyses of the need for a European Space Weather Programme and the possible content of such a programme. Activities included:
These studies were supported by a space weather working team (SWWT) who provided inputs to the studies, analysed the work of the sonsortia and advised ESA on future strategy.
Following on from the results of the two parallel studies
described above, ESA is about to initiate a space weather pilot
project. This project will aim to extend the space weather community
in Europe through outreach activities, collaboration and the
development of key space weather applications based on existing or
easily adaptable sources of data. For
more information about the pilot project, click here.