Low Earth Orbit Satellite Drag: Science and Operational Impact

Last Updated:
16 June 2017
A NASA LWS (Living With a Star program) Institute on “Nowcast of Atmospheric Drag for LEO Spacecraft” was established in 2015. The institute charter was to (a) review the current status of atmospheric drag research, (b) review operational concerns for LEO satellites, (c) identify and understand the major issues in atmospheric drag estimation and prediction, and (d) provide recommendations to improve our ability to make accurate drag nowcasts/forecasts that meet operational requirements. The institute included scientists and members of the satellite operation community from around the world. The institute had two meetings in 2016 and identified key issues LEO satellite drag and its variations: changes in neutrals (density, composition, and wind) arising from space weather conditions (solar energy inputs including solar radiation, solar wind, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling processes, as well as energy from the lower atmosphere).  This special collection will include contributions from the institute members and the community.  
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