Space weather – resilience to natural hazards

Decades of space radiation environment expertise, combined with knowledge of user needs gained through direct interaction with commercial satellite operators, Government policy officials and insurance underwriters, has enabled BAS to lead an international scientific project called SPACECAST to develop a space weather forecasting system.  BAS knowledge and expertise in this field provides also advice to Government that helps inform policy.

BAS has adapted its research models into the SPACECAST system  to forecast risk of satellite damage.  This system is being used by commercial companies including the largest satellite operator in Europe as well as other UK agencies.  Satellite operators control approximately 1,000 satellites on orbit.  About 380 satellites are for telecommunications and each generate about $128m per year.

Policy impacts

BAS submission to Government Office for Science (GO Science) for briefing the Prime Minister on space weather. 27 July 2010. Contact GO Science.

  1. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, “Scientific advice and evidence in emergencies”, Third Report of Session 2010-11, HC498, (2011).
  2. House of Commons Defence Committee “Developing Threats: Electro-Magnetic Pulses (EMP), Tenth Report of Session 2010-2012, HC1552, (2012).
  3. National Risk Assessment on severe space weather events. This report is classified. The existence of the BAS contribution to this report can be confirmed by contacting the Civil Contingencies Unit of the Cabinet Office. BAS work, along with other contributions, led to the inclusion of severe space weather on the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies in 2012 along with a direct link to the BAS website.
  4. NATO Parliamentary Assembly Sub-Committee on Energy and Environmental Security, Briefing to the committee on 27 November 2012 at the House of Commons.