AFWERX Selects SET Projects
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. The USAF announced selections today for two projects of Space Environment Technologies (SET) through the AFWERX program. One project will fly a long-duration stratospheric UAV for radiation monitoring and the other project will develop a machine-learned version of the SET HASDM density database for operational use.
The Aeronautical Regional Geospatial Observer System (ARGOS) project, headed by SET PI Justin Bailey, will develop the concept for a lightweight unmanned aircraft designed to fly autonomously for up to a year in the stratosphere at 20km altitude. Bailey noted that “Earth changes whether we notice or not. Observations tracking events as they unfold are increasingly vital to humans and the ecosystem at large. ARGOS will provide a unique capability for providing a radiation monitoring capability above commercial aviation altitudes.” In addition to this USAF funding, ARGOS is also partially funded to help support data retrieval from the stratosphere during the Automated Radiation Measurements for Aerospace Safety (ARMAS) ISS campaign in 2022; that funding is through NASA’s SBIR Phase IIE activity.
The Machine learning Enabled Thermosphere Advanced by HASDM (META-HASDM) project, headed by SET PI W. Kent Tobiska, will develop the concept for a machine-learned version of the thermosphere density database. Tobiska commented that “META-HASDM will provide operational information to reduce DoD and civilian LEO spacecraft satellite collision risks. It will also quantify, then reduce HASDM’s uncertainty and provide operational data for understanding density changes in the upper atmosphere due to large geomagnetic storms and solar flares.”
SET is a global leader providing space weather instrumentation and cloud-based data applications. Its customers are the U.S. government, academia, and the international commercial aerospace industry. SET has built an ecosystem of complementary products and services, including support from our partners, that combines leading-edge space physics models, innovative instruments, and unique operational data feeds found nowhere else in the world. Together, these capabilities reduce adverse effects of space weather upon our planet, upon humans, and upon our technology. SET’s vision of building new capabilities for living, working, and thriving in space guides its development of fundamental scientific knowledge, space weather hazard mitigation tools, satellite protection processes, radiation decision aids, navigation accuracy methods, and communication solutions.