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Advanced Space Weather Detector

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ASWD (Advanced Space Weather Detector)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2015-10-31

Space Weather is a relatively recent science. As the level of society’s dependence on technology is rising, Space Weather and its impacts are becoming highly relevant. The losses estimation of just the August 2003 blackout due to severe Space Weather is of USD 4-10 billion. The big economic consequences of severe Space Weather effects are rising industry awareness and mitigation protocols are being developed. In many cases, those protocols are implemented depending on Space Weather forecast. Its cycle has four stages: Observation -> Modeling -> Application Products -> Delivery. Intense Research is done in all four stages.

Given the strong scientific implications of Space Weather, national and international public institutions, such as WMO, ESA, NASA and NOAA/NWS among others, are the core of Space Weather forecast. The commercial sector has been related mainly with value-added services in the Application Product and the Delivery stage. The sector is evolving and the commercial sector is entering also into the Observation stage.

This step from the commercial sector is promoted for instance by the WMO, since many of the detectors used for Space Weather forecast are experimental, with a limited lifespan that is related with research programs and funding. This means that part of the infrastructure on which the Space Weather forecast is based is not stable or thought for long term operation. The introduction of the commercial sector in the Observation stage with new, long term, stable detectors is highly desirable and as said, encouraged by WMO.

The objective of this H2020 SME Instrument Phase 1 action is to develop a Feasibility Study for the project Advanced Space Weather Detector (ASWD). Its aim is the development and introduction of a new type of ground-based high-resolution detector. The objective is to set a realistic framework to support the undertaking of the Phase 2 and 3 of the project by having thoroughly studied the full context. This includes the Sector Study, including the current situation and future of the Space Weather industry, its trend and its key stakeholders, and also the Project Study which covers all the resources needed at the organizational, technological, human, infrastructural and economic levels. A complete business plan was also developed. The project is found to be strongly scientifically founded, with global impact capabilities, a diverse and thriving market and a great business opportunity. As a result of this action we can conclude this project has a very favourable context and a demonstrated feasibility.
At this point the feasibility study is fully developed. The final report is ready.

The work performed in this Phase 1 includes the research stage, both in the technological/ scientific and the industry/business areas, keeping up with state-of-the-art technologies and with the scientific frontier in the Space Weather area, which is essential to understand the current situation, needs and trends of the sector so that the results from the Phase 2 will be highly relevant to the industry. A deep understanding of the Space Weather context, from both its scientific and industry’s perspectives have been achieved.

The information from the research stage was used to develop a context analysis for a full Project Development (i.e. a Phase 2), so a complete evaluation of our own and further resources needed was carried out. By defining the Phase 2 overall needs we came up with the technological needs of the project, which in turn gave us the tools for developing an initial project plan, taking into account all the resources needed to develop it; experts and expertise, personnel, equipment, material, etc.

Finally, a business plan has been developed to study the introduction of the results of the future Phase 2 into the market and the resources needed for the commercialization stage. This business plan takes on the investments needed for undertaking Phase 2 and takes the project to the Phase 3 and beyond, studying the Space Weather industry, focusing on finding the key stakeholders and understanding the industry’s inter-relationships (observation and data sources, research and public institutions, application products, data delivery and the full range of industries affected by Space Weather) as well as public/private sector relations and also studying the short and medium term implications of the project, from the economical, company and market’s perspectives.
The final result is a feasibility study for the ASWD project; this includes a thorough analysis of the Space Weather sector, its main stakeholders and the economic study to undertake a full TRL8-9 development of the project including a business plan. The positive outcomes of the results of this phase 1 project mean a full commitment of Hidronav Technologies on pursuing the development of an industry-ready advanced ground-based detector for the Space Weather sector as the one proposed in this project.