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How can we avoid a mighty pile-up in space?

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"What’s the weather like in Earth’s upper atmosphere today? Most of us only care about how the weather feels on the Earth’s surface, but understanding “space weather” is becoming increasingly important.

"That’s because small changes in space weather can buffet satellites around, increasing the chances of a satellite pile-up."

Very short article at the UK Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/mar/13/weatherwatch-how-can-we-avoid-a-mighty-pile-up-in-space

Flying Through Uncertainty

"We currently lack the ability to accurately model and predict the neutral density changes in the thermosphere in response to space weather inputs. Operational empirical models of thermospheric density are inaccurate during space weather events, and mandate that LEO orbital tracks carry large “error ellipsoids” around all objects to account for positional uncertainty.

"This leads to many more “conjunction” warnings than necessary as large error ellipsoids are frequently calculated to intersect in orbit. As the LEO domain becomes more crowded with the advent of commercial “megaconstellations” we face a growing challenge to reduce orbital uncertainties by developing whole atmosphere models to enable timely and accurate forecasts of thermospheric conditions.

"We recommend that researchers, forecasters, and policy makers coordinate to ensure that space weather research and forecasting is tightly integrated into upcoming changes to the operational Space Traffic Management system."

Research at Wiley from 03 Jan 2020: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019SW002373

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and then

Manmade meteor showers... something to look forward to while we self-isolate ;) 

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