Space Weather Modeling: A Coupled Ionosphere-Thermosphere Physics-Based Approach

NSF grant PHY-2028125

Jaime Peraire, Assistant Professor, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Jordi Vila-Perez, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Postdoctoral Associate
Ngoc-Cuong Nguyen, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Principal Research Scientist

Anna Morozova, IA, University of Coimbra, Researcher
Teresa Barata, IA, University of Coimbra, Researcher


MIT Portugal Partnership 2030 (MPP2030)

This project aims to develop an open-source physics-based model of the ionosphere-thermosphere system in order to enable real-time forecasting of neutral and charged particle densities, which is critical for predicting atmospheric drag and modeling radio signal propagation for low-Earth orbit satellite operations. The proposed model builds upon MIT’s physics-based model of the neutral thermosphere by incorporating charged particles and complex chemical reactions of various species. The Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço will collaborate on this project to provide valuable validation data and complementary expertise in space physics. The approach will be validated using observational data as well as experimental data from satellite measurements and GNSS receivers under different space weather conditions. The project’s objective is to provide a reliable and efficient solution to the challenges faced by low-Earth orbit satellite operators, particularly the unpredictability of solar activity that drives highly variable space weather.

Total funding: $ 100,000