126 results:
Working with us  
General resources:  ÖAW research grant FWF research grants ÖAW jobs Opportunities to work with us as Summer student: FFG Talente Praktika Opportunities to work with us as PhD student: DOC Fellowship Programme of the Austrian Academy of Sciences FWF Stand-Alone Projects Opportunities to work with us as PostDoc: FWF Programmes Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Postdoctoral Fellowships  ESPRIT Programme Lise Meitner Programme Hertha Firnberg Programme ERC Starting Grant International Exchange grants: International FWF Programmes Heisenberg Programme Royal Society of Edinburgh  
This is us  
The Space Research Institute (Institut für Weltraumforschung, IWF) has been studying the physics of space plasmas and the atmospheres of planets inside and outside our solar system for 50 years. With about 100 employees from twenty nations, it is one of the largest institutes of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, ÖAW). The institute is located in the Victor Franz Hess Research Center of ÖAW in the south of Graz. At the Lustbühel Observatory it operates a satellite laser ranging station, which is one of the best in the world. IWF is the only institute in Austria that develops and builds space-qualified instruments on a large scale. The data returned by them are scientifically analysed and physically interpreted at the institute. IWF's core engineering expertise is in building magnetometers and on-board computers, as well as in laser ranging to satellites and space debris. In terms of science, IWF concentrates on dynamic processes in space plasma physics and on the upper atmospheres of planets and exoplanets - i.e. planets outside our solar system. Space has been explored with the help of satellites for more than 60 years and still poses many puzzles. Since the beginning of the 1980s, IWF has contributed/is contributing to more than 40 international space missions with over 100 scientific instruments. The institute is currently involved in 23 projects led by the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA or national space agencies in Japan, Russia, China, and South Korea. The missions cover fleets of satellites in near-Earth space, the observation of the Sun, and the exploration of planets such as Mercury, Jupiter, and extrasolar planets. From building the instruments to analyzing their data, these projects last 10-30 years. While IWF has already "harvested" the data from past missions and the scientists are eagerly analyzing the data from the current missions, in the laboratory the sophisticated sensors and instruments for future missions are being developed.    
Planet Atmospheric Escape  
The long-term evolution of planetary atmospheres, and thus the observed radius distribution, is significantly affected by atmospheric escape (or "loss"). This is a process by which atmospheric gas leaves the planet's gravitational source and disperses into space. For planets orbiting near their parent star, absorption of strong energetic radiation (i.e., X-rays, extreme ultraviolet, and ultraviolet light) heats the upper atmosphere, potentially causing hydrodynamic expansion and loss. In extreme cases, the expanding atmosphere fills its Roche radius and a large fraction of the atmospheric gas is lost to space, with catastrophic consequences for the planet's atmosphere. Atmospheric loss can best be studied by observing the atmospheres of planets very close to each other. For this reason, extrasolar planets (exoplanets) passing in front of their parent stars are ideal laboratories to study this phenomenon. There are two ways to observe atmospheric loss: ultraviolet observations from the atmospheres of exoplanets near the parent star and study of the effects of loss on the observed exoplanets. Members of the exoplanet group are actively working on observations and models to constrain the loss. Data from HST, CHEOPS, CUTE, PLATO, and ARIEL are key to this task.  
Macao Science 1  
Macao Science 1 was developed by the State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Science at the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) and is being implemented with support from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the local government. It is the world's first and only scientific exploration satellite to be placed in a near-equatorial orbit to study the geomagnetic field, and specifically the South Atlantic Anomaly, from space. The launch is scheduled for 2023. The South Atlantic Anomaly is an area with a significantly weakened geomagnetic field and associated increased radiation activity. Its center lies off the coast of Brazil. The inner of the two Van Allen radiation belts extends to about 700 kilometers from the Earth at the equator. In the region of the South Atlantic Anomaly, it comes much closer to it. Together with ESA's SWARM mission, launched in 2013, the South Atlantic Anomaly, which is widening and deepening, will be explored and measured in greater detail than ever before. Macao Science 1 is designed to provide the team on the ground with high-precision, high-resolution, long-term vector magnetic field data and information about the high-energy particles in the region. The satellite's overall length is more than eight meters and its weight is about 500 kilograms. The magnetic field sensors will be mounted on a 3.7-meter non-magnetic boom with an optical platform. The scientific payload consists of a high-energy particle detector, a star tracker, a fluxgate magnetometer, and a scalar magnetometer (CDSM), whose sensor and sensor-related electronics are contributed by IWF in cooperation with the Institute of Experimental Physics at Graz University of Technology (as was done for CSES-1 and CSES-2). The development of the processor and power supply electronics of the CDSM as well as its overall integration and testing are carried out by the Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen.  
FORESAIL-2  
FORESAIL is a CubeSat program conducted by Aalto University in the frame of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Research of Sustainable Space. The FORESAIL program comprises three CubeSats, which are to be launched in the years 2020 to 2025 and shall demonstrate high-quality scientific space observations together with safe de-orbiting to avoid the generation of space debris. FORESAIL-2, as the second mission in this program, is planned for a launch into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) in 2023. The technology demonstration goal of this mission is to survive the harsh radiation of the Van Allen belt using low cost components and a fault-tolerant software approach. In addition, a Coulomb drag experiment shall demonstrate safe de-orbiting from orbits with high apogee. The scientific goal of this mission is to characterize the variability of ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves in the inner magnetosphere and their role in energizing particles. This goal will be achieved using a Relativistic Electron and Proton Experiment (REPE) and a magnetic field experiment. In cooperation with the Institute of Electronics of Graz University of Technology, IWF will build a magnetometer, based on the newly developed Magnetometer-Frontend-ASIC (Next Generation MFA). The Graz contribution is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) in the frame of the Austrian Space Applications Programme (ASAP).  
Exoplanets  
Lead Team  
SMILE  
The Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, or SMILE, is a joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). SMILE aims to build a more complete understanding of the Sun-Earth connection by measuring the solar wind and its dynamic interaction with the magnetosphere. Although there are many spacecraft, such as Cluster, MMS, and STEREO, that constantly observe the Sun and its effect on the Earth's environment, no single mission is able to view the full Sun-Earth connection – instead they study localised processes and individual weather events. SMILE fills this gap; it will study our magnetosphere on a global scale, building a more complete understanding of the Sun-Earth connection by measuring the solar wind and its dynamic interaction with the magnetosphere. SMILE is scheduled for launch in 2024. After launch, it will enter a highly-inclined elliptical orbit that will take it nearly a third of the way to the Moon at apogee. This orbit will allow SMILE to make clear and quasi-continuous observations of key regions in near-Earth space with both remote-sensing and in situ instruments. IWF participates in the Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) and is Co-Investigator for the magnetometer (MAG). Further information on SMILE is found at ESA.  
Teaching  
IWF staff members serve as lecturers at the following universities and universities of applied sciences: University of Graz Graz University of Technology University of Vienna Technische Universität Braunschweig FH Joanneum FH Wiener Neustadt The master's degree program "Space Sciences and Earth from Space", offered by NAWI Graz since 2011, provides students with a technology/science oriented training in space sciences as well as application oriented modules in Solar System Physics Satellite Systems, and Earth System from Space. The study programme is based on research driven teaching. Further benefits are the result of combining specific competences not only from the University of Graz and the Graz University of Technology, but also from the Space Research Institute of  the Austrian Academy of Science and Joanneum Research. The Summer University "Graz in Space" is jointly organized by the Commission for Astronomy and the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Physics of the University of Graz and takes place every two years under the scientific lead of Helmut Rucker.  
Software Partnership  
As an Academic Partner of Visual Paradigm, Austrian Academy of Sciences is issued software tools for educational use, which cover UML, BPMN, Agile story mapping, etc.  
Interaction of escaping atmospheres of close-orbit exoplanets with stellar winds  
The close location of many known exoplanets to their host stars leads to intensive heating and ionization of their upper atmospheres by the stellar X-ray and EUV radiation. As a result, the partially ionized atmospheric material expands and forms a kind of escaping planetary wind. At higher altitudes, the planetary wind, driven by the gravitational, centrifugal, MHD, and stellar radiation pressure forces, interacts with the entire stellar wind and is either blown away, or accreted on the star. This constitutes the essence of the planetary mass loss. The escaping planetary wind, being often a supersonic one, affects the entire stellar system and results in many still unexplored processes.           In accordance with its research program, the project was aimed at the investigation and characterization of different regimes of exoplanetary and stellar winds interaction, paying attention to their observational manifestations and the role of planetary magnetic field. Special focus was made on the simulation of complex dynamic environments of exoplanets, and interpretation of the real transmission spectroscopy data acquired in course of the project by partner astronomer teams.             To achieve the project goals, several numerical codes were developed and upgraded. Based on the chemical code CHROME, the model of a multicomponent planetary atmosphere has been created, applicable to a wide range of exoplanets. It was used to calculate chemical reactions in the elaborated hydrodynamic and MHD models of the escaping exoplanetary atmospheres, which were extended to simulate the dynamics of their components (e.g., H, H2, H3, He, C, O, Mg, Si, N2, CO2) and corresponding ions, taking into account the whole range of plasma photo-chemistry reactions, particle collisions, and basic driving forces. The original 2D models were upgraded in the course of the project to global 3D numerical codes, which for the first time enabled a self-consistent simulation of the stellar winds and aeronomy of the expanding upper atmospheres of exoplanets in their mutual interaction. The developed models were used for the simulation of mass loss and interpretation of the in-transit spectral absorption measured in various lines for the exoplanets HD 209458b (Lyα, OI, CII, SiI, MgI, MgII); WASP-12b (MgII); WASP-107b (HeI); π Men c (Lyα); GJ3470b (Lyα, HeI), and GJ436b (Lyα). Besides of that, to study the atmosphere evolution of Earth-like planets in the vicinity of active stars, the multi-component 1D models of N2- and CO2-dominated atmospheres were elaborated (Kompot Code). As an additional direction, the project developed the methods for the analysis of border regions of the transit light curves, provided by the Kepler Space Telescope, and in this way enabled the probing of dusty structures possibly present in the immediate vicinity of some exoplanets.  
Abstract  
It is generally accepted that some sort of instability in Earth’s cross-tail current sheet (CS) in the transition region of tail-like to dipole-like magnetic field line configuration plays a crucial role in the onset of substorms. Candidates for this instability are the Ballooning/Interchange Instability (BICI) and Double-Gradient Instability (DGI). So far, investigations of these instabilities were conducted under the assumption of a symmetric CS. However, the interplanetary magnetic field, solar wind and geomagnetic dipole tilt angle influence the geometry of the CS. Under realistic conditions, the CS is mainly bent and not symmetric. This effect was not taken into account so far. This project aims to investigate the effect of a bent CS on substorm onset and the formation and evolution of BICI and DGI. For this purpose, we want to answer the following scientific questions: (1) Does a bending of the CS favor the formation of instabilities? (2) Can instabilities grow faster in a bent CS? (3) Do bent CSs favor substorm onset? (4) Is magnetic reconnection catalyzing the growth of instabilities? Hence, we want to investigate a bending of the CS in terms of (1) its stability (2) the interplay of different modes (3) its relation to substorms (4) the influence of reconnection on the evolution of instabilities. These goals will be achieved by the means of analytical, numerical and observational investigations in close collaboration with our international partners. In order to resolve the importance of electron currents and kinetic effects during the evolution of instabilities, we will use an analytical Hall-MHD (HMHD) model of DGI in symmetric and bent CS configurations and non-linear 3D MHD and HMHD simulations complemented by and compared to 3D PIC simulations. The non-linear DGI/BICI evolution in symmetric and bent CSs will be studied by implementation of all aforementioned 3D simulations (MHD/HMHD/PIC). The interplay between kink and sausage modes will be investigated also by using the magnetic filament approach to study their temporal co-evolution and possible dominance of one specific mode. For investigations on the interplay of reconnection with instabilities, a 2.5D electron HMHD model will be used to investigate the stability of realistic magnetotail configurations and reconstruct the electron CS. The analytical and numerical investigations are supplemented by observations of the THEMIS and MMS missions. These multi-spacecraft missions allow us to observe instability features simultaneously from different observational points and on different scales, ranging from the electron to the MHD scale. Thus, this project proposes a comprehensive approach, which combines data analysis with theoretical and numerical studies under a realistic magnetotail configuration that was not taken into account by previous studies. This may shed light in the formation and evolution of substorm relevant instabilities and the role of a bent CS for substorm onset.  
Abstract  
The Sun produces solar storms, clouds of plasma containing strong magnetic fields which are episodically ejected from its outermost layer. In the space between the planets, they decelerate and expand, and given the right direction, they may sweep over the Earth to produce colorful aurorae in the night sky. Seldomly, their impacts can lead to problems with modern technology such as failures in power grids and global navigation systems. This project is devoted to a better physical understanding of the magnetic fields at their cores, which have a relatively ordered structure in contrast to the turbulent medium they are embedded in, the solar wind. If the solar storm core collides with the Earth’s magnetic field and only if the storm’s magnetic field points in the right direction, energy is transferred to the magnetic field of the Earth. Thus, the ordered structures at the storm cores must be better understood in order to predict their effects at the Earth and other planets. We will establish a new type of simulation that can model these cores based on the hypothesis that their shape can be represented by an extremely large bent tube with an embedded special type of magnetic field. Our method represents a new way of modeling solar storms which has several advantages, such as that is computationally very quick, so it can be applied many times with different parameters, and it is designed to be used one day for forecasting solar storm effects at Earth. Especially the wealth of just recently available data from spacecraft residing between the Sun and the Earth makes this project groundbreaking, as we now can test our new model with data of many storms that show a solar storm hitting two or more planets consecutively, for instance first Mercury, then Venus and later Earth. This allows to greatly reduce the free parameters of the simulation in order to find robust results on how solar storms move and evolve between the Sun and the Earth.  As a bonus, the Parker Solar Probe is planned to be launched in 2018 and will be the first spacecraft to temporarily reside inside the orbit of Mercury, which could result in unprecedented observations of solar storms close to the Sun. Our new simulation is ideally suited to interpret these groundbreaking observations, which may allow to decipher how the Sun produces the ordered structures in the storm cores and how they propagate towards the Earth.  
Bent current sheet: A possible catalyzer to trigger substorm onset  
Principal Investigator Dr. Stefan Kiehas E-Mail Stefan.kiehas[at]oeaw.ac.at Address Schmiedlstrasse 6, 8042 Graz, AUSTRIA Research Institution Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences Approval date 23.06.2014 Project duration Start: 01.07.2015   End: 31.07.2019 Scientific field(s) 123 ( 50%) 1228 (20%) 1222(20%) 1601 (10%) Keywords Double gradient instability   Interchange instability   Bent current sheet   Magnetospheric substorms   Ballooning instability   Magnetic reconnection  
Abstract  
We propose to improve the warning time for the prediction of the effects of solar storms at Earth. This is like meteorology, but not for the kind of weather we experience everyday on the surface of the Earth - rather, we forecast the solar wind flowing around the Earth’s magnetic field. Solar storms are clouds of plasma threaded by magnetic fields that are ejected from the solar atmosphere with speeds of millions of kilometers per hour. In case a solar superstorm impacts the Earth, an event to be expected every 100 years, technological infrastructures such as power grids and satellites are at risk of failure, and airline crews and astronauts would experience very high levels of radiation. These storms can transfer a part of their energy to the Earth’s magnetic field, leading to a temporary re-arrangement that is known as a geomagnetic storm. It can result in beautiful northern and southern lights, but may also pose hazards to technologies that we take for granted in our daily life, such as electric power and global navigation systems. To better mitigate these potentially destructive effects, an accurate forecast of solar wind at the Sun-Earth L1 point can be seen as a key technology in space weather research, similar to the groundbreaking nature of reusable rockets or gene-editing in other fields. In this project, we tap into long-term solar wind data sets, with 40 years of available data. This makes it possible to use machine learning algorithms in combination with our own simulation of solar storm magnetic fields to model the future solar wind with a warning time of up to 2 days. We will connect our forecasts with an existing model for the location of the aurora, giving the general public information when and where to see the northern lights. During geomagnetic storms, currents can temporarily be present in the Earth’s surface, and for very strong events they may lead to power blackouts. Therefore, we will couple the predicted solar wind to a model of these currents at the Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Austria, in order to mitigate potential blackouts in central Europe in the future. The accuracy of the predictions will be first tested on already existing data, and later in the project used in a real-time mode. We will also show if future missions based on small spacecraft (CubeSats) could possibly further enhance the forecasts. A timely funding of this project would give Austria an edge in the prediction of geomagnetic storms to further consolidate and strengthen a position of international leadership in the field of space weather.  
Enhanced lead time for geomagnetic storms  
Principal Investigator Dr. Christian Möstl E-Mail christian.moestl[at]oeaw.ac.at Address Schmiedlstrasse 6, 8042 Graz, AUSTRIA Research Institution Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences Approval date 26.11.2018 Project duration Start: 01.03.2019   End: 28.02.2023 Scientific field(s) 103 (Physics, Astronomy): 100%   105 (Geosciences): 30%   102 (Informatics): 30% Keywords space weather forecasting   aurora   geomagnetically induced currents   geomagnetic storms   solar coronal mass ejections   solar wind  
Abstract  
We propose to improve the warning time for the prediction of the effects of solar storms at Earth. This is like meteorology, but not for the kind of weather we experience everyday on the surface of the Earth - rather, we forecast the solar wind flowing around the Earth’s magnetic field. Solar storms are clouds of plasma threaded by magnetic fields that are ejected from the solar atmosphere with speeds of millions of kilometers per hour. In case a solar superstorm impacts the Earth, an event to be expected every 100 years, technological infrastructures such as power grids and satellites are at risk of failure, and airline crews and astronauts would experience very high levels of radiation. These storms can transfer a part of their energy to the Earth’s magnetic field, leading to a temporary re-arrangement that is known as a geomagnetic storm. It can result in beautiful northern and southern lights, but may also pose hazards to technologies that we take for granted in our daily life, such as electric power and global navigation systems. To better mitigate these potentially destructive effects, an accurate forecast of solar wind at the Sun-Earth L1 point can be seen as a key technology in space weather research, similar to the groundbreaking nature of reusable rockets or gene-editing in other fields. In this project, we tap into long-term solar wind data sets, with 40 years of available data. This makes it possible to use machine learning algorithms in combination with our own simulation of solar storm magnetic fields to model the future solar wind with a warning time of up to 2 days. We will connect our forecasts with an existing model for the location of the aurora, giving the general public information when and where to see the northern lights. During geomagnetic storms, currents can temporarily be present in the Earth’s surface, and for very strong events they may lead to power blackouts. Therefore, we will couple the predicted solar wind to a model of these currents at the Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Austria, in order to mitigate potential blackouts in central Europe in the future. The accuracy of the predictions will be first tested on already existing data, and later in the project used in a real-time mode. We will also show if future missions based on small spacecraft (CubeSats) could possibly further enhance the forecasts. A timely funding of this project would give Austria an edge in the prediction of geomagnetic storms to further consolidate and strengthen a position of international leadership in the field of space weather.  
Manifestations of deep convection in stellar photometry  
Principal Investigator Dr. Christian Möstl E-Mail christian.moestl[at]oeaw.ac.at Address Schmiedlstrasse 6, 8042 Graz, AUSTRIA Research Institution Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences Approval date 26.11.2018 Project duration Start: 01.03.2019   End: 28.02.2023 Scientific field(s) 103 (Physics, Astronomy): 100%   105 (Geosciences): 30%   102 (Informatics): 30% Keywords space weather forecasting   aurora   geomagnetically induced currents   geomagnetic storms   solar coronal mass ejections   solar wind  
Abstract  
Space above the Earth’s atmosphere is broadly filled with ionized gas, called plasma. Since the density of the space plasma is mostly small enough to neglect the viscosity – that is, any collisions between ionized space plasma particles are basically negligible, the behavior of it is essentially different from neutral viscous fluids such as air and water. In such a collisionless plasma system, the boundary layer between regions with different plasma properties plays a central role in transferring energy and controlling the dynamics of the system itself. The goal of this project is to understand how the energy is transferred across the boundary layer in a collisionless plasma. Although a number of past studies have targeted this fundamental and important problem in space science, quantitative aspects of the realistic transfer process are still poorly understood. This is mainly because the energy in a collisionless plasma tends to be transferred over a broad range of spatiotemporal scales from the plasma particle (kinetic) scale to the global scale of the system, which cannot be handled only from laboratory and spacecraft measurements. Recent advances in numerical simulation enable more quantitative estimates of the transfer process, but still suffer from unrealistic assumptions. On these backgrounds, the scientific focus of this project is to quantify the energy transfer process more exactly than previous studies covering all necessary scales by effectively combining state-of-art plasma simulations and in-situ and remote plasma measurements. The uniqueness of this project is to target various types of boundary layers located in the Earth’s magnetosphere (the region controlled by the terrestrial magnetic field), which cover different factors and scales that control the energy transfer process across the boundary layer – that is, the Earth’s magnetosphere acts as a great experimental station to explore the boundary layer physics.  Specifically, in this project, a series of large-scale plasma particle simulations of representative boundary layers in the magnetosphere will be performed on one of the world’s largest supercomputers MareNostrum, under realistic simulation conditions obtained from real in-situ observations by recently launched high-resolution MMS (Magnetospheric Multiscale) spacecraft. The simulation results will be compared to the observation data from the MMS spacecraft, existing other in-situ spacecraft as well as ground-based observatories, which permit to treat both the local boundary layer physics and the global coupling of the local processes. Based on the project results, not only a quantitative understanding of the multi-scale boundary layer physics in the magnetosphere, but also a systematic understanding of the boundary layer physics in collisionless plasma will be obtained for the first time. These newly gained understandings will therefore be applicable to many other planetary and astrophysical objects, and will support future space exploration missions.  
Space Debris  
The increasing amount of space debris poses a great threat for active satellites in space. Besides currently approx. 1000 active and more than 1000 inactive satellites, roughly 40000 space debris parts (measured with radar) and more than 500000 space debris particles with diameters of  less than 1 cm are in orbit around Earth. These space debris parts are mainly upper stages of old rockets, or parts from explosions (mainly due to aging accumulators or remaining fuel), or from satellite collisions. Depending on their orbital height, these debris parts can remain in orbit for quite a long time. While an old rocket body in 1000 km altitude will reenter and burn up in the atmosphere within a few 1000 years, an upper stage orbiting in 6000 km will orbit around Earth for the next few million years. The Graz SLR station has an international leading position concerning space debris research. Currently, it concentrates on the following research topics. In multi-static space debris laser ranging Graz sends photons to a space debris target, using a 20 Watt laser. The light is diffusely reflected on the laser's surface and the Graz photons are spread over Central Europe. These reflected photons are then detected by other stations across the continent. In a unique experiment, Graz sent photons with a green laser and Wettzell sent photons with an infrared laser, simultaneously. The Graz photons were detected by Graz and Wettzell, the Wettzell photons by Wettzell, Graz, and Stuttgart. Data analysis proved a significant increase in orbital prediction accuracy of space debris targets. In the Stare & Chase method a low cost camera system with a field of view of approx. 10° "stares" in arbitrary direction into the sky and records the stellar background up to magnitude 9. From the position of stars in the background the accurate pointing direction of the camera is calculated. As soon as a sunlit space debris particle passes through this field of view, its celestial coordinates as referenced to the background stars are determined and stored. Using only the pointing information – without a-priori orbital information – an orbit is calculated and immediately used to track ("chase") the target with laser-based distance measurements. The whole process from the first detection of the target in the camera's field of view to successful space debris laser ranging can be completed within a few minutes. For the spin period and attitude determination of space debris laser measurements are combined with light curves. Knowing the retro-reflector geometry on the satellite, it is possible to determine spin period and spin attitude parameters of the target. The environmental satellite Envisat has eight retroreflectors arranged in a pyramid. Due to the rotation of the satellite the distance to the single retro-reflectors varies periodically a few millimeters. From SLR measurements it is hence possible to accurately determine spin period and attitude parameters of such targets. Simultaneously to SLR, sunlight reflected from the satellite is used to record light curves. They display the reflected intensity in dependence of one full rotation of the satellite (phase). From light curves one can easily recognize reflection patterns from various parts of the satellite such as the solar panel or the central body.  
Satellites  
The satellites measured by the SLR station can be split up in four main groups: Passive/geodetic satellites Satellites in low Earth orbit Navigation satellites Space debris Passive/geodetic satellites are of spherical shape and constructed in a way not to be influenced by external forces except gravitation. Typically, a large amount of retro-reflectors leads to response signals for SLR measurements, which can be easily identified. Distances range from 800 to 20,000 km and their main area of use is highly precise measurements of the Earth's gravitational field. Satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) can be found in distances between 450 and 1,350 km. Their field of use is versatile and ranges from the measurement of Earth's ice mass, ocean currents, sea level rise etc. up to high resolution radar images. All of them need to know their accurate orbit, which is measured and determined by SLR data. Besides the American and European satellite navigation systems, GPS and Galileo, several other countries such as China, Russia and India sent their own navigation satellites to space. Distances vary between 20,000 and 36,000 km, with total masses of 600 to 1,400 kg. Their field of use is the exact positioning and navigation on Earth.  
Theses  
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Space Weather  
The science of space weather is concerned with understanding the causes and effects of varying conditions in mainly the Earth's magnetosphere and atmosphere that are mostly driven by the Sun. The solar wind is a supersonic flow of an extremely fast and tenuous plasma that is expelled by the Sun at all times, and interacts with other solar system objects such as planets, comets and asteroids. It carries a magnetic field that is shaped like a spiral due to the rotation of the Sun. Normally, the so-called slow solar wind, which nevertheless impacts Earth with 400 kilometres per second, flows quietly around the Earth's magnetic field. However, during time intervals of strong southward magnetic fields and higher solar wind speeds, which are caused by solar storms (known as coronal mass ejections) and fast solar wind streams, energy is transferred into the magnetosphere and the magnetic field of the Earth is temporarily disturbed. The prediction of the solar wind impacting the Earth's magnetic field is a major unsolved problem in space science. An accurate solar wind forecast would tell us where and when the aurora lights up the sky, or whether power grids in countries at high latitudes such as Canada or Norway are at risks of failure. IWF is working on solar wind predictions for high-speed streams and coronal mass ejections, with numerical, analytical and empirical models. Particularly the runtime of the models is optimized, so that  ensemble simulations with variations in the input parameters can be produced in order to estimate error bars in the predictions, and to make it possible to apply the models in real-time. The team members combine observations from as many spacecraft as possible, including Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo, in order to gain a complete picture of how solar storms and high speed solar wind streams propagate from the Sun to the planets. To this end we are working on a complete Sun-to-Earth chain of our self-developed models, covering the background solar wind and solar storms to predict the solar wind near Earth. Then it is calculated how the errors in the solar wind prediction affect the forecasts of geomagnetic indices, ground-induced currents and the aurora location.  
SC-Plasma-Interaction  
A spacecraft embedded in a plasma will become charged due to the collection and emission of electrons to and from the surface. There are typically two main sources of current: the first being due to the ambient electron density collected by the surface of the spacecraft, and the photoelectron current where ultraviolet radiation from the Sun can cause electrons to be stripped from the spacecraft surface. The relative importance of these currents as well as other minor currents determine the value of the spacecraft potential. The spacecraft potential can be a useful quantity for analysis in some cases, but it can also have undesirable affects in others. Under certain conditions it can be calibrated to measure the ambient density fluctuations with the advantage of higher time resolution when compared with particle detectors. The density fluctuations which are obtained in this way are useful for the study of turbulent fluctuations in the solar wind. In different circumstances a spacecraft with a large positive potential can be problematic. Discharges can occur presenting a danger to instrumentation, furthermore spacecraft will interact with the ambient plasma causing ions to be repelled from the spacecraft before they can reach the detectors, hindering the measurements. In these circumstances the potential can be regulated to a low level by the Active Spacecraft Potential Control (ASPOC) instrument. This instrument fires positive Indium ions from the spacecraft causing the potential to be reduced, but can also affect the plasma environment. ASPOC was developed at IWF and has flown on Double Star, Cluster and most recently the Magnetospheric MultiScale mission (MMS). Members of IWF are engaged in the analysis of spacecraft potential data for density estimation, as well as understanding the effects of the spacecraft and ASPOC on the immediate plasma environment. Tools for the calibration of spacecraft potential and calibrated solar wind data are available here.  
Space plasma/dust modeling and simulation  
Space between planets, stars, and galaxies is commonly filled with plasma with its temperature and density, respectively, high and small enough to neglect Coulomb collisions. Recent in-situ and remote observations have also revealed the existence of space dust in our solar system. The behavior of these space plasma and dust is rather complex and affected by many factors such as the electromagnetic forces, multi-scale waves and instabilities, the charge state and orbital distribution of dust. Mathematical, analytical and numerical modeling and simulations are useful to effectively handle these factors and systematically understand such complex behavior of plasma and dust over a wide range of parameters. Based on various methods of modeling and simulations, members of space plasma physics group are actively working on various research targets in space near the Earth, in the vicinity of other planets, comets and asteroids, near the solar surface, in the solar corona, and in the solar wind. In particular, recent advances in computer resources and numerical techniques enable us to handle large-scale plasma kinetic and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of various fundamental plasma phenomena such as magnetic reconnection and plasma turbulence covering a broad range of spatiotemporal scales that cannot be handled only from observations. Working with these simulations lead to a constant development of new mathematical methods and models that are of interest also for other research fields in space science. Comparison between these state-of-the-art modeling/simulations and observations also enable to obtain quantitative understanding of the multi-scale physics of these space plasma and dust phenomena.  
ULF Waves  
Ultra-Low Frequency (ULF) waves are waves with a period between roughly 1 and 1000 seconds that are usually measured with magnetometers on the Earth's surface or on spacecraft. They are, however, not exclusively found in near-Earth space, but also around other planets and in interplanetary space. The study of ULF waves found its commencement with the observation of a magnetic storm in 1859 at the Kew Observatory by Steward. In early days the ULF waves were only observable from ground magnetometers. No information about the source for these global oscillations could be found, but a classification could be made. It was found that some waves were quasi-sinusoidal and continuous (Pc) whereas others did not have a well-defined frequency and these were called irregular pulsations (Pi). These waves are oscillations of the (Earth's) magnetic field lines, that can either be propagating or standing waves. On the closed dipole field lines, there can be (harmonic) standing oscillations similar to the oscillations of a violin string. These are field line resonances, which fall into the Pc-5 category, and their frequency can be used e.g. to estimate the ion mass density at the magnetic equator. In the space age, in-situ measurements could be made to address the sources and/or characteristics of these waves, but it was quickly recognized, in the late 1970s, that to do this properly, multi-spacecraft measurements were needed. This was first realized with the launch of ISEE 1 and 2 in 1977. In the magnetotail other ULF waves can be generated by explosive phenomena such as magnetic reconnection. Because of the special planar topology of the magnetotail, there can be various eigen modes of the tail that can be excited (e.g. magnetotail flapping). Otherwise, because of the fast flows created by reconnection, instabilities on the boundaries of the flow channel can generate the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability and create ULF waves. Such waves can be well studied by the multi-spacecraft missions in near-Earth space such as Cluster, THEMIS, and MMS. With the multipoint measurements, characteristics such as the propagation velocity and the spatial and temporal evolution of the ULF waves can be determined. ULF waves are not limited to the Earth’s magnetosphere, also in other places in our solar system these waves have been observed. Unfortunately, in these cases there are usually only single spacecraft measurements. The Venus Express mission measured ion cyclotron waves (Pc-5) in orbit around Venus. Although Venus does not have its own internal magnetic field, in its neighbourhood in the solar wind, these waves can be generated by pickup of ions that are created by ionization of neutrals in the extended exosphere. One particularly interesting case was the singing comet, where Rosetta measured waves between 40 and 100 mHz around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, created by an, up to then, unmeasured phenomenon, that the large gyro radius of the picked-up ions strum the magnetic field lines around the comet and make then resonate. In this case, the lander Philae was also equipped with a magnetometer and 2 point measurements of these "singing waves" were possible during the descent phase. ESA's mission to Mecury, BepiColombo, will investigate the Hermian magnetosphere, which is very dynamic. From earlier missions it is known that there is strong ULF activity from reconnection, but also from ion cyclotron waves which are, most likely, created by ion pickup in the solar wind. Here the two modules MMO and MPO will deliver 2-point measurements of the magnetosphere, and only during specific conjunctions of the spacecraft also of the ULF waves. The upcoming ESA mission to Jupiter, JUICE, which will orbit the Jovian moon Ganymede at the end of its mission will measure ULF waves in the enormous Jovian magnetosphere. But at the end of its mission, in orbit around Ganymede, JUICE will study the small magnetosphere of this moon, where it is known that e.g. field line resonances occur.  
Magnetic Reconnection  
Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental energy conversion process in collisionless plasmas involving multi-scale processes. While the topology of the magnetic field changes take place inside a small region where electrons become unmagnetized, regions of acceleration and heating of plasma are distributed at larger scales, driving global plasma transport, such as magnetospheric convection, or leading to sporadic magnetic energy release on global scales such as substorms, flares and gamma ray bursts. Among the different plasmas, Geospace is a natural plasma laboratory to study the ground truth of how magnetic reconnection operates in nature, since plasmas and fields in action can be directly measured at high cadence. For such in-situ observations, multi-point measurements, where temporal and spatial variations can be separated, are essential for detecting the complex energy conversion processes relevant to magnetic reconnection. Members of space plasma physics group is actively working on data analysis from multi-point spacecraft measurements, Cluster, THEMIS, and MMS, and performing advance computer simulation to enable to us to study magnetic reconnection from small scale, ion and electron physics to large-scale consequence of the reconnection in the Near-Earth space.  
Solar Wind & Magnetospheres  
The Sun is constantly emitting charged particles, the so-called solar wind, which carries the solar coronal magnetic field to the outer parts of our solar system. Although the solar wind is constantly present, it is variable in strength, as the Sun periodically ejects more mass during active than during quiet periods. When the supersonic solar wind impinges upon obstacles throughout the solar system, such as magnetic fields or charged particle atmospheres of planets, moons, and comets, it dynamically forms bow shocks ahead of these obstacles and engulfs the obstacles that thereby become magnetospheres. The magnetospheres evolve differently at each solar system body, as they are of different size and type, e.g., due to the presence (or not) and strength of a body-intrinsic magnetic field. Of particular interest to us are basic physics of gases of charged particles (plasmas) and solar wind-magnetosphere interactions, for instance, plasma and magnetic flux transport in the magnetotail, interaction of shock-reflected particles with the solar wind, wave propagation and amplification on magnetospheric boundaries and in the magnetosphere, and connections between these and other phenomena. To study the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth's and other magnetospheric environments in the solar system (different planetary and cometary magnetospheres), in-situ measurements at those different environments and, more specifically, at different regions within the magnetospheres are needed. Members of the Space Plasma Physics group are actively involved in analyzing in-situ data from multiple spacecraft missions, including Cluster, THEMIS, MMS, and Rosetta. They are also preparing future measurements at Mercury (BepiColombo, launched in 2018) and participating in future missions to Mars (Tianwen-1) and to a comet or an extrasolar object (Comet Interceptor) A new class of remote sensing observations of the Earth’s outer magnetospheric boundary and polar lights will become available by SMILE.  
Ionosphere Dynamo  
In this field of research, we characterize and investigate the dynamo mechanism which generates electric fields and currents in the electrically conducting ionosphere. It interacts at higher altitudes with the magnetosphere and at lower altitudes with the atmosphere. It can be considered as a key region because of its relationship to the space environment via the magnetosphere and the Earth's lithosphere layer through the atmosphere. IWF is using two approaches, one based on the modelization of the ionosphere wind dynamo and the other on the use of radio wave propagations allowing principally plasma remote sensing of ionospheric layers. The combination of both methods allows us to optimize our models and to compare observed values to the calculated electric fields and magnetic variations. The coupling atmosphere-ionosphere-magnetosphere is investigated in such way to highlight the solar activity effect on magnetic, plasma and neutral components of the Earth's environment. The modelization of the ionosphere physical parameters is explored in the manner to be consistent with observed ground magnetic perturbations. The figure (click to enlarge) shows a schematic representation of the ionosphere dynamo investigations based on: (a) Collected observations recorded by spacecraft (CSES, DEMETER, SWARM and WIND) and ULF and VLF/LF ground-based stations (INFREP, INTERMAGNET), (b) Use of magnetic field models and conductivities as input parameters for the ionosphere dynamic simulation, and (c) Combination of calculated electric field and magnetic variations to solar and geomagnetic activity indexes derived from space and ground observations. Recently, we have analyzed the propagation of seismogenic electric currents through the Earth's atmosphere where such currents are associated to the earthquake preparation zone in the lithosphere. Also sub-ionospheric VLF/LF transmitter signals are used to emphasize on the dynamic of the D- and E-layers under the effect of the solar and geomagnetic activities. The VLF/LF propagation leads us to infer the radio spectrum between the ground and the lower ionosphere.  
Extraterrestrial Surfaces  
In space science the solid surface of objects in our solar system have attracted much interest over the last decades. IWF dedicates its research to understand the evolution of the surface and the near subsurface regions of planets, moons and comets. The focus is laid in particular on the individual physical processes that go on at and below the surface of these solid bodies. Investigations apply to optical and electrical properties, as well as the thermal evolution, the heat balance, and the gas diffusion through the near-surface material. By studying the involved physical processes IWF also contributes to the understanding of the consequences for the atmosphere-surface interaction and so the influence on the atmosphere evolution. The investigations have always involved international cooperation in connection with space missions where hardware contributions (Rosetta/Philae) or data modelling and interpretation (Cassini/Huygens, InSight) played an essential role. Observations have shown that the interpretation of many measurements is difficult because of the complex interconnection of the involved physical processes. Therefore, it is essential to study certain processes in an isolated way. This is achieved, on the one hand, by experimental investigations with suitable analogue materials, and on the other hand, by analytical models and numerical computer simulations. Currently all these methods are applied in the DACH project CoPhyLab (Cometary Physics Laboratory), with emphasis on laboratory measurements.  
Atmosphere Evolution  
In this research area, we focus on the interaction processes of solar/stellar radiation and plasma to the upper atmospheres of planets and bodies without atmospheres (e.g. Mercury, Moon(s), comets, asteroids, and planetary embryos). The evolution of planetary atmospheres from primordial, steam to secondary atmospheres are studied. The origin and escape of exospheres from airless bodies, and the effects on surface compositional modification are also investigated. Variations of isotopes and volatile elements in different planetary reservoirs keep information about atmospheric escape, composition and even the source of accreting material. For studying the evolutionary processes, known atmospheric isotope and elemental ratios are used for evolutionary reproduction attempts. The origin of Earth's N2-O2-dominated secondary atmosphere is studied in the framework of comparative planetology between Venus, Mars and potential terrestrial exoplanets. A better knowledge how Earth originated its biosphere will then also enhance our understanding of exoplanetary systems, in particular in view of the potential habitability of Earth-type exoplanets. Figure a) shows the most likely proto-Earth accretion scenarios as constrained by different isotope-systematics (D-H, atmospheric Ar & Ne, primordial 3He abundance in the deep mantle) and isotopic chronometers (Hf-W, U-P) in dependence on the disk lifetime and activity of the young Sun by the IWF-team, inferred from several of their published research articles. Proto-Earth’s mass fraction during disk dispersal should have been ≈ 0.5 – 0.6 MEarth (dark grey area). Figure b) shows the modelled upper atmosphere responses to present Earth's N2-O2-dominated atmosphere in comparison with Saturn's large moon Titan, a body in the outer solar system with a N2 atmosphere. The Earth's atmosphere would not have been stable against the higher soft X-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation (XUV) of the young Sun during the first several hundred million years, indicating that its atmosphere had a different composition most likely CO2-rich.  
SLR Station  
The Graz SLR station is one of the leading laser stations worldwide. Its centerpiece is an Nd:Vanadate kHz laser system. It generates 2000 laser pulses per second (2 kHz repetition rate). The duration of a single laser pulse is only 10 picoseconds. For comparison: Light with a speed of 300000 km/s travels a distance of only 3 mm during this time. A single laser pulse has an energy of 400 µJ, which corresponds to one million times one billion of photons. Arriving at the satellite, a small portion of the light is reflected back to the SLR station by retro-reflectors. Few photons (in most cases only one single photon) arrive at the SLR station in Graz, are collected by a 0.5 m diameter telescope, and registered by a Single-Photon Avalanche Detector (SPAD) with a diameter of only 200 µm (approx. 4 times the thickness of a human hair). Depending on the distance, the 2-way travel time of the photons ranges from a few milliseconds up to a quarter of a second. A real-time observation software optimized for kHz SLR was developed by the Graz SLR team. This software is very flexible, modular and can be upgraded easily. Even un-experienced observers can learn to operate the SLR station within only one night of training. The software already has a considerable set of Real Time Automatics: Automatic identification of potential returns out of intensive background noise Only these potential returns are stored, to minimize result file sizes Automatic range gate setting, range gate shifting, range gate optimization Automatic time bias calculations and time bias settings Automatic optimizing of tracking Recognizing pre-pulses, minimizing them via offset pointing Automatic search modes to find/acquire the satellite In addition to the real-time observation software a number of other software tools are in routine operation. Using a dedicated camera the backscattering of the laser beam can be made visible during daylight, which simplifies the adjustment of the laser beam direction. During night the reflected sunlight of the satellite is used to display an image of the satellite by using a sensitive astronomical camera. Measuring with 2 kHz, using relatively weak laser pulse energy together with a single-photon-detector – specifically for satellite at larger distances – results in very low return rates. For GPS satellites during day, the return rate can be as low as 0.001. This means out of the 2000 shots fired in each second only 2 returns per second are received - hidden within 1998 noise points. The Real Time Return Detection routines have to identify these 2 returns, have to store them, and have to reject the noise reliably.  
Test Facilities  
Before sent into space, the flight instruments are tested in vacuum and in different temperature ranges. A special magnetometer laboratory is use for the calibration of magnetometers. IWF owns four different kind of vacuum chambers. The small vacuum chamber is a manually controlled, cylindrical vacuum chamber (160 mm diameter, 300 mm length) for small electronic components or printed circuit boards. It features a turbo molecular pump and a rotary dry scroll forepump. A pressure level of 10-10 mbar can be achieved. The medium vacuum chamber has a cylindrical stainless steel body with the overall length of 850 mm and a diameter of 700 mm. A dry scroll forepump and a turbo molecular pump provide a pressure level of about 10-7 mbar. A target manipulator with two axes and an ion beam source are installed. This chamber mainly serves for functional tests of the ion mass spectrometer for BepiColombo. The large vacuum chamber has a horizontal cylindrical stainless steel body and door, a vision panel, two turbo molecular pumps and a dry scroll forepump. A pressure of 10-7 mbar can be achieved. The cylinder has a diameter of 650 mm and a length of 1650 mm. During shutdown the chamber is vented with nitrogen. A target manipulator inside the chamber allows for computer-controlled rotation of the target around three mutually independent perpendicular axes. The vacuum chamber is enclosed by a permalloy layer for magnetic shielding. To enable the baking of structures and components (to outgas volatile products and unwanted contaminations), the chamber is equipped with a heater around the circumference. The thermal vacuum chamber is fitted with two turbo molecular pumps, a dry scroll forepump, and an ion getter pump, which together achieve a pressure level of 10-6 mbar and allow quick change of components or devices to be tested. A thermal plate installed in the chamber and liquid nitrogen are used for thermal cycling in a temperature range between -160 °C and +140 °C. The vertically oriented cylindrical chamber allows a maximum experiment diameter of 410 mm and a maximum height of 320 mm. Temperature tests are performed in two different temperature test chambers. One chamber allows verifying the resistance of electronic components and circuits to most temperatures that occur under natural conditions, i.e., -40 °C to +180 °C. It has a test space of 190 liters and is equipped with a 32-bit control and communication system. The second chamber is used for fast cycling electronic components and circuit. The temperature range is -70 °C to +180 °C. This chamber has a test space of 37 liters and is equipped with similar interfaces for communication. In the magnetometer laboratory two three-layer magnetic shielding made from mu-metal are used for all basic magnetometer performance and calibration tests. The remaining DC field in the shielded volume is <10 nT with a field noise of <2 pT/√Hz at 1 Hz. A special Helmholtz coil system allows generating field vectors of up to ±30,000 nT around the sensor under test. The magnetometer temperature test facility is used to evaluate magnetic field sensors between -170 °C and +220 °C in a low field and low noise environment. Liquid nitrogen is the base substance for temeperature regulation, which is accurate to ±0.1 °C. A magnetic field of up to ±100,000 nT can be applied to the sensor during the test cycles. IWF also operates a large three-dimensional Merritt coil system in cooperation with the Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG). It is located in the Conrad Observatory within a nature reserve at the outskirts of the Eastern Alps about 50 km SW of Vienna. The remoteness of the location guarantees an undisturbed surrounding for the absolute calibration of magnetic field sensors. The coil system has a side length of approximately three meters. Two pairs of coils along each axis enable a field homogeneity of better than 4x10-5 in a test volume of 200 x 200 x 200 mm in the center of the coil. The coil system features separate coils for Earth's field compensation and the dynamic range of the main coils is ±100,000 nT.  
High-Performance Computer  
The new high-performance computer LEO comprises a login-server for job processing and 32 compute nodes with a total of 1320 CPU cores. The software library is implemented with so-called "environment modules", which enable users to quickly include one specific software version, while other users might need a different version. For large-scale simulations there is an attached storage server that provides some 150 TB of hard disk space with different backup levels. The compute nodes use solid-state drives (SSD) for a massive-parallel cluster filesystem. Crucial for high-performance computing is also the 56 Gbit/s network with nanoseconds latency, which is implemented fully by InfiniBand hardware. Emergency procedures documentation allows for a complete re-installation of the operating system within about two hours working time. The hardware, shown in the figure, automatically downloads and processes data from the MMS mission and is actively used for simulation-based research.  
ASPOC  
In low density plasma regions, a satellite exposed to sunlight becomes positively charged (up to tens of volts) due to the emission of photoelectrons. The spacecraft potential can interfere with the measurements of particles. Positively charged ions can be repelled from the spacecraft making their measurement more difficult, while negatively charged electrons can be accelerated into the detector potentially reducing the lifespan of the micro-channel plates of the sensors. The spacecraft potential can also significantly influence the accuracy of the electric field measurements. The ASPOC instrument regulates the spacecraft potential by firing positively charged indium ions allowing more accurate electric field and particle measurements to be performed. ASPOC was built under IWF lead in cooperation with RUAG Space Austria and FOTEC Forschungs- und Technologietransfer GmbH. Each ASPOC instrument contains four ion emitters, with only one emitter active at a given time. Compared to previous missions, the design of the emitter and the on-board electronics as well as the control software have been improved.  
Magnetospheric MultiScale  
NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission was launched on 13 March 2015 from Cape Canaveral, Florida on board an Atlas V rocket. The goal of the mission is to study the dynamics of the Earth's magnetosphere and the underlying energy conversion processes. The mission consists of four identically equipped spacecraft flying in formation which are able to measure plasma processes in the Earth's magnetosphere fully in three dimensions. The MMS satellites build on the successes of the ESA's Cluster mission. In contrast to Cluster, the MMS spacecraft fly in a smaller formation allowing the physics of small scale processes to be investigated. MMS are also on a different orbit allowing other areas of near-Earth space to be explored. IWF is the mission's largest non-American partner. The focus of the mission is on magnetic reconnection; a process where magnetic energy is converted into particle energy. Magnetic reconnection is a key physical process in a number of different phenomena such as in magnetic storms which are related to the northern lights on Earth. The fast time resolution of the instruments and the small separations of the multiple spacecraft are essential for distinguishing between temporal and spatial changes in the plasma. These properties of the mission allow a detailed investigation of reconnection's smallest scales fully in three dimensions. From the MMS data, our knowledge about the Sun and its influence on the Earth and the solar system will be significantly expanded. NASA has entrusted the mission to the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), San Antonio, USA. The payload consists of the most extensive set of fast particle and field measurement instruments to date. These include the FIELDS instrument package for measuring electromagnetic fields, each with several sensors, three instrument packages for particle measurements (with a focus on high time resolution, composition and high-energy particles) as well as instruments for regulating the satellite potential. IWF is responsible for the potential control of the satellites (ASPOC) and is involved in the electron beam instrument (EDI), and the digital fluxgate magnetometer (DFG). Further information is available from NASA and SwRI.  
RPW  
The Radio and Plasma Waves (RPW) experiment is unique amongst the Solar Orbiter instruments in that it makes both in situ and remote-sensing measurements. RPW will measure magnetic and electric fields at high time resolution using a number of sensors/antennas, to determine the characteristics of electromagnetic and electrostatic waves in the solar wind. RPW was developed under the lead of LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, France. IWF was responsible for the antenna calibration and built the on-board computer for RPW.  
Solar Orbiter  
Solar Orbiter is an ESA-led mission with strong NASA participation, which will provide close-up, high-latitude observations of the Sun. On 10 February 2020, at 05:03 CET, it was successfuly launched from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas V rocket. Flying a novel trajectory, with partial Sun-spacecraft corotation, Solar Orbiter will investigate in-situ plasma properties of the near solar heliosphere and observe the Sun's magnetized atmosphere and polar regions. There are ten instruments on board. IWF built the digital processing unit (DPU) for the Radio and Plasma Waves instrument (RPW) and has calibrated the RPW antennas, using numerical analysis and anechoic chamber measurements. Furthermore, the institute has contributed to the magnetometer. More information about Solar Orbiter is found at ESA.  
Flight Hardware Production  
The institute's clean room is a class 10000 (according to U.S. Federal Standard 209e) certified laboratory with a total area of 30 m². It is used for flight hardware assembling and testing and accommodates up to six engineers. The laminar flow clean bench has its own filtered air supply. It provides product protection by ensuring that the work piece in the bench is exposed only to HEPA-filtered air (HEPA = High Efficiency Particulate Air). The internal dimensions are 1180 x 600 x 560 mm. The vapor phase soldering machine is suitable for mid size volume production. The maximum board size is 340 x 300 x 80 mm. Vapor phase soldering is currently the most flexible, simplest and most reliable method of soldering. It is ideally suited for all types of surface mounted device (SMD) components and base materials. It allows processing of all components without the need of any complicated calculations or having to maintain temperature profiles. For the placing of fine pitch parts and the rework of electronic boards an infrared soldering and precision placing system is used. The new DispenseMate 585 is a solder paste printer in a compact benchtop format. This machine allows a precise dosing of solder pastes on PCBs. As an option, a dispenser for precise glue application can be used. The range of motion is 525 x 525 mm.  
Infrastructure  
Instruments aboard spacecraft are exposed to harsh environments and are expected to be highly reliable, providing full functionality over the entire mission time, which could last for more than a decade. Therefore, they are tested under space conditions and assembled in dust-free rooms by technicians in protective clothing. IWF owns several test facilities and special infrastructure for the production of flight hardware. A high-performance computer helps the scientists to cope with the enormous data, which have to be analyzed for space missions. Since 1982 IWF has been operating an SLR station at Lustbühel Observatory.  
RPC-MAG  
RPC-MAG (RPC-Fluxgate Magnetometer) is one instrument out of a suite of five making up the Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC). It was developed to determine the magnetic fields around and the magnetic properties of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. During the two years that Rosetta escorted the comet, the first-ever long-time measurements of the induced magnetosphere of a comet were performed. RPC-MAG consists of two extremely light, tri-axial fluxgate sensors, mounted on a long boom. The range is from -16384 nT to 16384 nT with a 20 bit resolution. The measurements are continuous at a rate of 20 Hz. The MAG sensors have a total weight of 90.6 g. The magnetometer electronics, which are also used for the other instruments of RPC, has a weight of 410 g and uses on 675 mW. IWF was especially interested in the electric conductivity of the cometary nucleus, and therefore disturbances of the interplanetary magnetic field are recorded both by RPC-MAG and by the magnetometer on the lander unit Philae (ROMAP). Furthermore, the interaction of the cometary nucleus with the solar wind is investigated. In contrast to the missions to comet 1P/Halley in 1986, in which IWF was also involved, with Rosetta long-time measurements were made around the comet. RPC-MAG was developed under the lead of the Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology of the TU Braunschweig. IWF developed the data collection unit (left side of the circuit board, see image) and joined in the testing and calibration at industrial and partner institutes. Driven by the large size of the Rosetta orbiter, the determination of and compensation for the stray magnetic fields was of great importance. IWF developed special software for this and performed the tests in collaboration with TU Braunschweig. Further information about RPC-MAG can be found at TU Braunschweig.  
ROMAP  
ROMAP (Rosetta Lander Magnetometer and Plasma Monitor) is a multi-sensor instrument on the lander unit Philae. It measures both the magnetic field and the ions and electrons. The sensors are located on a 60 cm boom, which was expanded during the landing phase. Operating this instrument on the surface of a comet called for the development of a new kind of digital magnetometer of low-mass and low power demands. For the first time, a magnetometer was operated inside a plasma sensor. ROMAP was developed under the lead of the TU Braunschweig. IWF delivered the control unit and the flight software. The demands regarding the necessary resources (weight <60 g, power <170 mW) were a great challenge. On the surface of the comet, the magnetometer was exposed to extreme temperatures. Calibration of the magnetometer over a wide range of temperatures was performed in a special facility developed by IWF. Because of the short boom and the stray magnetic fields from the electromotors on the lander unit, a special magnetic cleanliness program was necessary for which IWF developed the software and analyzed the data. Thanks to the close proximity of Rosetta to the comet and the measurements of the lander unit Philae on the surface, the first detailed investigations on the magnetic properties of a cometary nucleus could be performed. The orbiter magnetometer RPC-MAG and ROMAP discovered that the comet does not have an intrinsic magnetic field. More information about ROMAP can be found at TU Braunschweig.  
MUPUS  
MUPUS (Multi-Purpose Sensor) served for the in-situ measurements of important material parameters of the cometary nucleus such as heat transfer and solidity. It consists of multiple components (penetrator, IR-sensor, anchor-temperature sensor and anchor-accelerometer), which were steered by a common electronics. The development of the instrument was done in an international cooperation under lead of Prof. Tilman Spohn, nowadays leader of the Institute for Planetary Physics at DLR Berlin. During the development phase IWF contributed to the anchor-accelerometer and thermal sensors, as well as to the MUPUS penetrator. The technology developed for MUPUS to determine the heat transfer will also be used for other missions (e.g. to the Moon, Mars and asteroids), as well as for terrestrial purposes. During the cruise phase of Rosetta, laboratory tests were performed and calibration with the "ground reference model" of the MUPUS penetrator and similar terrestrial instruments (EXTASE). Also numerical simulations of the thermal behavior of the penetrator on the surface of the comet were performed. These activities were important for a successful analysis of the MUPUS data after Philae landed on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Further information about MUPUS can be found at ESA.  
MIDAS  
The atomic force microscope MIDAS (Micro-Imaging Dust Analysis System) onboard Rosetta, studied the physical parameters of cometary dust, which is released as soon as the comet gets closer to the Sun. With this new method the texture of the dust particles can be measured with an accuracy of several nanometers. In the size-distribution of cometary dust the smallest particles, with a size of micro- to nanometers, are strongly represented. The fractions of petrogenic and light elements can be determined based on the structure of the particles. MIDAS delivered information about the physical properties of the comet as a dust source. Also the development of cometary activity during the comet's approach to the Sun and the interaction between dust, gas and plasma in the neighborhood of the comet was studied. The development of the instrument was done in an international cooperation between the directorate of science and robotic engineering of ESA and the Department of Physics of the University of Kassel under the lead of IWF Graz. In Austria Joanneum Research, Austrian Research Center Seibersdorf (now AIT), Austrian Aerospace (now RUAG Space) and the Technical University Vienna were also involved. Further information about MIDAS can be found at ESA.  
COSIMA  
COSIMA (Cometary Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer) onboard Rosetta performs chemical and isotopical analysis of cometary dust in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s coma. The instrument is based on secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS). A primary energetic ion beam, 10keV 115In+, hits the target and releases molecules of which 0.1 to 10% are ionized. These are the so-called secondary ions. In order to resolve a large mass range, a time-of-flight mass-spectrometer is used. The target can be scanned with a spatial resolution equal to the diameter of the primary ion beam (around 10 μm). COSIMA consists of a dust collector, a target manipulator, an optical microscope to check the targets, the primary ion source and the mass spectrometer with its ion-optics and ion-detectors. The development of the instrument was done in an international cooperation under the lead of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, in Garching, Germany. IWF delivered the electronics for the primary ion beam system. Further information about COSIMA can be found at ESA.  
Router and Data Compression Unit (RDCU)  
PLATO consists of 24+2 high precision cameras, which perform photometric measurements for approximately 600,000 stars simultaneously. Each four cameras share one digital processing unit. Two cameras are acting as so called fast cameras, concentrating on just a few stars, but providing much higher time resolution. All data from the processing, power, and housekeeping units are fed via the router unit to the instrument controller. Although the router is just a small component, it is an essential element and high attention is drawn on its reliability. The instrument controller collects all data and performs a lossless compression, before generating the telemetry packets. The compression unit - developed in cooperation with the University of Vienna - is a hardwired logic in an FPGA providing efficient and high-performance data reduction. The RDCU will be manufactured and assembled at IWF and will be finally integrated into the instrument controller.  
RPWI  
The Radio and Plasma Wave Investigation (RPWI) instrument will investigate the radio emissions and the plasma environment of Jupiter and its icy moons using many different sensors. There will be four Langmuir probes located at the tips of four 3 m long booms to measure the plasma density, plasma temperature, and the electric field. A search coil magnetometer will be used to measure AC magnetic fields up to 20 kHz in three dimensions. It is mounted on the 10 m long magnetometer boom not far from the Radio Wave Instrument (RWI), which will measure the AC electric fields from 80 kHz to 45 MHz and consists of three orthogonal antennas with a length of 2.5 m each. RPWI is developed and built under the lead of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF Uppsala). The main task of IWF was to calibrate the RWI antennas, since only a calibrated instrument can retrieve the correct values for intensity, polarisation and incoming wave direction of a radio wave.  
MAGSCA  
The J-MAG magnetometer suite aboard JUICE will characterise the Jovian magnetic field, its interaction with the internal magnetic field of Ganymed and study the subsurface oceans of the icy moons.  J-MAG was built under the leadership of Imperial College London to measure the DC magnetic field vector and magnitude (in the bandwidth DC to 64 Hz) in the spacecraft vicinity. It will use a conventional, dual sensor fluxgate configuration of mature design and considerable space flight heritage combined with an absolute scalar sensor (MAGSCA) based on more recently developed technology. The three magnetometer sensors will be boom-mounted, with the scalar sensor at the tip of the 10.5 m long boom. This new type of scalar magnetometer (CDSM), which has experienced its space approval aboard the Chinese CSES mission, was developed by IWF in close cooperation with the Institute of Experimental Physics of Graz University of Technology. The image MAGSCA Flight Model by Andreas Pollinger/IWF/OEAW is licensed under CC BY 4.0.  
Fluxgate Magnetometer (FGM)  
The THEMIS Flux Gate Magnetometer (FGM) measures the background magnetic field and its low frequency fluctuations (up to 64 Hz) in the near-Earth space. FGM is specifically designed to study abrupt reconfigurations of the Earth's magnetosphere during the substorm onset phase. This requires an exceptional offset stability of 0.2 nT/hour. Due to its high sensitivity the FGM is capable to detect variations of the magnetic field with amplitudes of 0.01 nT. For attitude determination purposes the FGM must also operate close to the Earth at field levels of about 25000 nT. Thus the FGM needs to measure fields in a range extending over six orders of magnitude. FGM was developed at the Institute for Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics of TU Braunschweig. The calibration of the magnetometers was carried out in close cooperation with IWF.  
Waves  
The Juno Waves instrument consists of an electric dipole antenna and a magnetic search coil and corresponding receivers. Its spectral coverage goes from 50 Hz up to 40 MHz (electric) or 20 kHz (magnetic) to measure the large variety of Jovian radio emissions. Waves has measured electron and proton whistlers, lightning whistlers, impacting dust particles, Langmuir waves, electron cyclotron waves, auroral plasma waves, quasi-periodic radio bursts, as well as kilometric, hectometric, and decametric radio emissions. The unique trajectory of Juno should lead the spacecraft through the source region of auroral radio emissions, which is uncharted territory. Besides in-situ measurements at the sources, the rotating dipole technique can also be used to locate the source locations of radio waves. IWF scientists have calibrated the Juno Waves antenna using grid models for numerical computer simulations (see figure) and the experimental technique of rheometry, in which a metallic scale model of the spacecraft was immersed in an electrolytic tank.  
SOSMAG  
SOSMAG (Service Oriented Space Magnetometer) is a development for the European Space Agency, which aims to provide a ready-to-use magnetometer package for any suitable spacecraft while omitting magnetic cleanliness requirements. The basic idea is to use additional sensors on the body of the spacecraft to enable monitoring of magnetic disturbers during flight. SOSMAG consists of two sensors on a short boom (1 m), two additional sensors to be mounted on or in the spacecraft near the main disturbers, with simultaneous measurements at high data rate. The onboard software allows automated correction for the effects of the DC fields of the spacecraft, after a learning sequence in an early flight stage. The engineering model of the system was successfully developed and tested by IWF together with Magson GmbH in Berlin, Technical University Braunschweig, and Imperial College London. A flight model was developed for the GEO-KOMPSAT-2A spacecraft, launched in December 2018.  
CDSM  
CDSM (Coupled Dark State Magnetometer) is an optically-pumped scalar magnetometer based on two-photon spectroscopy of free alkali atoms. In a special laser-based excitation mode, three different magnetic field dependent resonances arise in the presence of an external magnetic field. They reach their maximal strengths at different angles between the magnetic field direction and the optical path of the laser excitation field through of the sensor unit. According to this angle, the strongest resonance is selected for the actual measurement. This enables an omni-directional all-optical scalar magnetic field measurement without the need for moving parts, feedback coils and active electronics at the sensor. The extended measurement range, which is a lot larger than the magnitude of the Earth’s magnetic field (60,000 nanotesla), is a further advantage of this measurement principle. In general, scalar magnetometers measure the magnitude of the magnetic field with high accuracy, while vector magnetometers (mostly fluxgate magnetometers) measure the magnitude and the direction of the magnetic field. Fluxgate magnetometers must be recalibrated in flight regularly. Therefore, for a certain mission scenario, full science return can only be achieved with a combination of vector and scalar magnetometers. CDSM comprises a mixed signal electronics unit, a Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL; with housing, temperature stabilisation and fibre coupler), a sensor unit, and a sensor harness with optical fibres. The electronics as well as the laser are located in an electronics box inside the spacecraft, whereas the sensor unit is designed for boom mounting. The sensor consists of two fibre couplers for the connection of the outbound and inbound fibres, a polariser and a quarter wave plate to secure the required laser light characteristics, a cylindrical glass cell, which contains a few micrograms of 87Rb metal for the actual measurement process and Neon as buffer-gas, and a metal housing for a precise alignment of the optical components.  
PICAM  
An international team lead by IWF has been selected by ESA to provide a Planetary Ion Camera (PICAM) for the payload of the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO). PICAM is an ion mass spectrometer operating as an all-sky camera for charged particles to study the chain of processes by which neutrals are ejected from the soil, eventually ionised and transported through the environment of Mercury. PICAM will provide the mass composition, energy and angular distribution of low energy ions up to 3 keV in the environment of Mercury. These observations will uniquely allow to study the low energy particles emitted from the surface of Mercury, their source regions, composition and ejection mechanisms, and to monitor the solar wind which may impinge on the surface and constitutes a major ejection process. This will allow to better understand the formation of Mercury's tenuous atmosphere and its magnetospheric plasma. PICAM combines high spatial resolution, simultaneous measurements in a full 2 π field of view with a mass range extending up to ~132 u (Xenon) and a mass resolution better than ~50. PICAM is part of the SERENA (Search for Exospheric Refilling and Emitted Natural Abundances) instrument suite of four neutral particle and ion sensors. PICAM consists of a sensor with ion optics and the ion detector as well as an attached electronics box with dedicated low and high voltage power supplies, coordinate determination and time-of-flight electronics, and a controller. The data are transferred to the common System Control Unit of SERENA.  
BepiColombo Magnetometers  
The magnetometer aboard the Japanese orbiter (MMO-MGF) was developed and built under IWF lead, in cooperation with the Japanese Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS/JAXA) and the Technical University Braunschweig. MGF-O (outboard) was provided by European institutes and MGF-I (inboard) by ISAS/JAXA. In addition, IWF is responsible for the overall technical management of the magnetometer aboard the European orbiter (MPO-MAG, see photo). Both magnetic field instrument designs, MMO-MGF and MPO-MAG, are based on a digital fluxgate magnetometer with a dynamic range of approx. ±2,000 nT and a maximum vector rate of 128 Hz. The primary objective of the magnetic field investigation on MMO (Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter) is to study the formation and dynamics of Mercury's magnetosphere and the processes that control the interaction of the magnetosphere with the solar wind and with the planet itself. Emphasis will be placed on those effects and processes, which are particular to the Hermean magnetosphere and distinguish it from the better known terrestrial one: (1) the weak intrinsic magnetic field of Mercury and its interaction with the young and strong solar wind, (2) the comparably small dimension of Mercury's magnetosphere and possibly greater importance of plasma-kinetic effects, and (3) the near-absence of an ionosphere. It is expected that these differences have a large impact on (1) the reconnection process, both on the dayside and in the magnetotail, (2) the structure and dynamics of field-aligned currents, and (3) the low frequency plasma waves. The primary objective of the magnetic field investigation on MPO (Mercury Planetary Orbiter) is to provide the magnetic field measurements that will lead to the detailed description of Mercury's planetary magnetic field, and thereby constrain models of the evolution and current state of the planetary interior. It is recognized that the scientific objectives of the BepiColombo mission can be best met by the comprehensive scientific coordination of the magnetic field investigations.  
Satellite Laser Ranging  
Lead: Georg Kirchner  
Space Plasma Physics  
Lead: Rumi Nakamura  
Space Magnetometers  
Lead: Werner Magnes  
Planetary Atmospheres  
Lead: Helmut Lammer  
On-Board Computers  
Lead: Manfred Steller  
Central On-Board Computer  
For redundancy reasons, the central on-board computer BEE (Back End Electronics) consists of two identical units, each consisting of a power supply unit (PSU) and a data processing unit (DPU). The power supply unit, which was developed and built by RUAG Space, supplies all instrument units with their own electrical voltages. Especially for the camera unit, high accuracy criteria had to be met to ensure instrumental stability. The data processing unit was developed and manufactured at IWF. It was particularly important to provide the necessary computing power and storage capacity to obtain the highest possible data quality, yet compromising with the characteristics of the satellite. In addition, the DPU continuously measures the main parameters of the on-board computer and uses its software to thermally control the telescope and instrument.  
Rosetta  
On 2 March 2004 ESA's spacecraft Rosetta was launched from Kourou in French Guiana on an Ariane-5 G+ rocket. Its final destination was comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. After a ten-year flight through space Rosetta managed, for the first time ever, a rendezvous with a comet. On 6 August 2014 the spacecraft was put into an orbit around the comet, to escort it on its path to perihelion and beyond. During Rosetta's mission spectacular images of the comet were taken and new knowledge was obtained about the origin of our solar system. On 12 November 2014 Rosetta made history again by putting the lander unit Philae onto the surface of the comet. On 30 September 2016 Rosetta's mission was ended by a controlled crash of the spacecraft onto the comet's surface. IWF Graz was the lead in the development of the atomic force microscope MIDAS, an instrument that can analyze the micro-texture and the sizes of dust grains in the coma, with a precision of several nanometers. IWF was also involved in the development of MUPUS, which studied the physical properties of the cometary surface; the mass-spectrometer COSIMA, which studied the dust in the coma; and the magnetometers ROMAP and RPC-MAG. Further information about the Rosetta mission can be found at ESA.  
Cassini-Huygens  
15 September 2017 marked the end of one of the most successful space missions of the last decades: NASA's Cassini mission had orbited Saturn for 13 years before it burnt up in the upper atmosphere of the ringed planet. Launched in October 1997, it reached Saturn in 2004 and flew around the gas giant almost three hundred times. During its 20 years in space, Cassini has delivered 635 GB of science data, which have been investigated in almost 4000 scientific publications until the end of the mission. IWF has participated in more than 50 publications in international journals. One of the multiple highlights of the mission was certainly the landing of ESA’s Huygens Probe (piggybacked on Cassini) on Saturn's enigmatic moon Titan in January 2005. Titan turned out to be a moon with landscapes similar to Earth, with rivers, lakes, clouds, rain, mountains, and dunes. However, the freezing-cold temperature on its surface is around ‑180 °C at a pressure level of 1.5 bars. At such conditions methane and other hydrocarbons play a similar role in forming the landscape as water on Earth. Another highlight was the discovery of geysers at the south pole of the icy moon Enceladus, and the ocean below its icy crust could be a habitable environment for simple life forms. Cassini has given us new views on Saturn's rings, aurora, atmosphere, and on numerous moons in the Saturn system. Cassini detected large hurricanes on Saturn’s north and south pole and a giant thunderstorm raged in Saturn's northern hemisphere over several months in the years 2010/2011. Aboard ESA's Huygens probe IWF has contributed to the development of ACP (Aerosol Collector and Pyrolyser) and HASI (Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument), as well as to the data analysis of GCMS (Gas Chromatograph and Mass Spectrometer). IWF was also a member in the Cassini RPWS (Radio and Plasma Wave Science) team and has calibrated the RPWS antennas. Of course IWF has also analyzed the data delivered by the Cassini-Huygens mission. Further information on Cassini-Huygens is found at NASA and ESA.  
THEMIS  
NASA's THEMIS mission (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms) studies the causal relationship between the energy releases from the Earth's magnetosphere known as substorms and the origin of the aurora. THEMIS was selected by NASA in March 2003 as a medium-class explorer (MIDEX) mission. In February 2007, five small satellites were launched onboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in order to study the tail of the Earth's magnetosphere in a precisely defined constellation. IWF contributed to the mission concept and is involved in the magnetometer instrument (developed under the leadership of the TU Braunschweig) and scientific data analysis. More information about THEMIS can be found at the University of California, Berkeley and NASA.  
Juno  
Juno is a NASA mission to the gas giant Jupiter that was launched in 2011 and entered a Jovian orbit in July 2016. Juno makes 37 low polar orbits that lead the spacecraft partly through an intense radiation environment. The overarching goal of Juno is to understand Jupiter’s origin and evolution. The spacecraft consists primarily of a hexagonal central body with a high-gain antenna for data transmission to Earth. Three large solar panels provide energy to power the spacecraft and the scientific instruments. Juno is a spinning spacecraft and the first mission to Jupiter using solar panels. Another key scientific focus is Jupiter’s polar magnetosphere which is uncharted territory. The Juno Waves instrument, mainly built by the University of Iowa, will investigate the auroral acceleration region and measure radio and plasma waves. IWF scientists and engineers worked on the antenna calibration of the Waves instrument. Further information on Juno is found at NASA and @NASAJuno.  
InSight  
InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is a NASA Discovery Program mission, which was launched in 2018 and placed a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior. But InSight is more than a Mars mission. It will answer fundamental questions about the formation of the rocky planets of the inner solar system - including Earth - more than four billion years ago. By using sophisticated geophysical instruments, InSight will delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the fingerprints of the processes of terrestrial planet formation, as well as measuring the planet's "vital signs": Its "pulse" (seismology), "temperature" (heat flow probe), and "reflexes" (precision tracking). The scientific payload consists of two instruments. The seismometer (SEIS), provided by the French CNES, will capture the internal activity of Mars. The Physical Properties Package (HP³), contributed by the German DLR, will measure the planetary heat flow. In addition, the Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE), led by JPL, will use the spacecraft communication system to provide precise measurements of planetary rotation. IWF contributes to the investigation of soil mechanical properties, derived from the HP³ penetration. More information about InSight is found at NASA.  
GK-2A  
On 4 December 2018, GEO-KOMPSAT-2A (GK2A) was successfully launched aboard an Ariane 5 from the European spaceport in Kourou, French-Guyana. It is the first in a pair of civilian geostationary weather satellites (Geostationary Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite-2), developed and built by KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute). Both satellites focus on meteorological survey measurements from a geostationary orbit, 35,786 km above Korea. GK2A carries additional  instrumentation to investigate space weather phenomena. In cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and international partners, IWF is engaged in GK2A with a four-sensor magnetometer equipment (SOSMAG). Both satellites have a design life of ten years. The second satellite, GK2B, is scheduled to launch at the end of 2019, also on an Ariane 5.  
CSES-1  
The China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES) was successfully launched on 2 February 2018. CSES will be the first Chinese platform to investigate natural electromagnetic phenomena and possible applications for earthquake monitoring from space in a polar Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The scientific objectives of CSES focus on multiple physical parameters including electric and magnetic field, ionospheric plasma in-situ and profile disturbances and high-energy particle disturbances. The instrument for measuring magnetic fields in a bandwidth between DC and approx. 60 Hz was developed in cooperation between the National Space Science Center (NSSC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, IWF, and the Institute of Experimental Physics (IEP) of the Graz University of Technology. NSSC is responsible for the dual sensor fluxgate magnetometer, the instrument processor and the power supply unit, while IWF and IEP participate with a scalar magnetometer (CDSM). The CDSM instrument is a very important element for the scientific success of the CSES mission. In low Earth orbit the terrestrial background magnetic field is high and measurements with vector magnetometers are affected by offset and gain uncertainties. A sufficient calibration is only possible using the data from the scalar magnetometer.  
Cluster  
To study the effects of the sun on the lives of the inhabitants of the earth in high temporal and spatial resolution, the ESA has launched the Cluster Satellite Quartet in 2000. The launch took place in pairs on 16 July and 9 August on board two of Soyuz launchers from Baikonur. The four identical satellites fly in the form of a triangular pyramid, enabling a three-dimensional study of solar-terrestrial interactions. Each probe has the same measuring instruments on board so that the data of the spacecrafts can be compared with each other. The trajectory lead over the polar areas, with the nearest point (perigee) at 19,000 km and the most remote point (apogee) at 119,000 km from the center of the earth near the equatorial plane. The distances between the satellites can be varied from a few hundred to a few thousand kilometers. The spacecrafts fly through the most interesting areas of near-Earth space: the area dominated by the Earth's magnetic field (the magnetosphere), but also regions of the solar wind (the stream of ionized matter constantly emanating from the Sun) and especially the boundary layers between these areas. The simultaneous measurement at four points enables the separation of temporal and spatial variations in the measurements. The payload of each satellite consists of eleven scientific instruments. IWF is involved in clusters with three gauges: ASPOC controls the electrical charge of the satellite, FGM measures the earth's magnetic field and EDI measures the electric field. In addition, IWF is co-investigator for PEACE and CIS, instruments for measuring electron and ion spectra. For the exchange and distribution of the data, a system of seven national data centers was designed in the early 90s of the last century. Bandwidths were small then, the data volumes high for those times, so the distributed system should ensure a prompt access for the scientific community. The Austrian Cluster Data Center (ACDC)was established by IWF and is still in operation.  Further information on Cluster can be found at ESA.  
BepiColombo  
The satellite mission BepiColombo to Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun, is new and special in several ways. Not only is it the first joint European-Japanese satellite project, in which both the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are participating, it is also the first time that two spacecraft - Magnetospheric (MMO) and Planetary Orbiter (MPO) - are simultaneously flying to this innermost planet. BepiColombo was launched on 20 October 2018 and will reach Mercury in December 2025. The European MPO will study the surface, exosphere, and internal composition of the planet, and the Japanese MMO will study Mercury's magnetosphere. Mercury's closeness to the Sun and the resulting high temperatures present a particular challenge. IWF participates in the magnetometers on both spacecraft. It is in charge of the MMO magnetometer (MMO-MGF) and responsible for the overall technical management of the MPO magnetometer (MPO-MAG). The studies will focus on the planetary magnetic field discovered by NASA's Mariner spacecraft as well as its dynamic interaction with the young and strong solar wind in this region. On board of ESA's MPO IWF is responsible for the PICAM-sensor of the SERENA (Search for Exosphere Refilling and Emitted Neutral Abundances) instrument package. Further information on BepiColombo is found at ESA and JAXA.  
Comet Interceptor  
The mission's primary science goal is to characterise, for the first time, a dynamically-new comet or interstellar object, including its surface composition, shape, and structure, the composition of its gas coma. It will consist of three spacecraft, which will give a unique, multi-point "snapshot" measurement of the comet - solar wind interaction region, complementing single spacecraft observations made at other comets. The only way to encounter dynamically new comets or interstellar objects is to discover them inbound with enough warning to direct a spacecraft to them. However, the time between their discovery, their passage of perihelion, and their departure from the inner Solar System has until recently been very short, historically months to a year: far too little time to prepare and launch a spacecraft. Therefore, after launch, Comet Interceptor will be "parked"’ at the Sun-Earth Lagrange point L2, and remain there until a target has been discovered. Comet Interceptor will be launched with ESA's ARIEL spacecraft in 2028. It will be a multi-element spacecraft comprising a primary platform (A), which also acts as the communications hub, and two sub-spacecraft (B1 built by JAXA and B2 built by ESA), allowing multi-point observations around the target. All spacecraft will be solar powered. The spacecraft will remain connected to each other at L2. The mission cruise phase will last months to years. Before the encounter, the spacecraft will separate into its separate elements, probably a few weeks pre-flyby. For very active comets, separation will be earlier, to maximize separation of the spacecraft elements, whilst for low activity targets, separation will occur only a few days before the encounter takes place. IWF is involved in the Dust-Fields-Plasma package, for which it will build the electronics for the magnetometer on the B2 spacecraft, and in the MANIaC package for which it will build the DPU. Further information is found here.  
Project: Europlanet 2024 RI  
Links Europlanet 2024 RI Machine Learning Telescope Network VESPA At the beginning of February 2020, the EU project Europlanet 2024 - Research Infrastructure started. Its aim is to effectively link and foster European research in the area of planetary physics. For the last one and a half decades, Europlanet has been providing a platform for the exchange of ideas as well as scientists. Project partners are supported in using scientific tools, research facilities and databases in a common and shared way. The Space Research Institute (IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OEAW) in Graz is one of the 51 project partners from 21 European and international countries. Within the work package Machine Learning Solutions for Data Analysis and Exploitation for Planetary Sciences, led by Ute Amerstorfer, the Know-Center in Graz, the University of Passau, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the French ACRI-ST, the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IAP-CAS), the Northern Irish Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP) and the Lomonosov Moscow State University will take up the new challenges of data analysis in the planetary sciences. Another work package, led by Manuel Scherf, coordinates the Europlanet Telescope Network and integrates amateur astronomers into planetary sciences. In addition to IWF, it also involves the British University of Edinborough, the Spanish University of the Basque Country, the Lithuanian University of Vilnius, the Polish Adam Mickiewicz University and the French Observatoire de Paris. Furthermore, IWF participates in the Virtual Observatory VESPA and the integration of Early Career Scientists and researchers from under-represented EU-member states. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.  
PLATO  
PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) is the third medium-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision program, due for launch in 2026. PLATO measures the brightness of stars to look for so called "planetary transits", which are periodic dimming of light caused by a planet passing in front of the disc of a star. Thanks to its large field of view and 26 high-precision cameras, PLATO will obtain the light curve of thousands of stars with the aim to look for extrasolar planets and in particular of Earth-size planets orbiting Sun-like stars. PLATO will measure the radius and orbital period of the detected transiting planets and the main physical properties of the host stars, such as radius, mass and age. The PLATO mission as a whole consists also of an intense ground-based observational campaign in support to the space-based observations. These aim at the measurement of the mass of the planets detected from space, through the radial velocity method. The measured mass, together with the radius derived from PLATO light curves, gives an estimate of the planetary bulk density and hence a first estimation of the physical characteristics of a planet, including its possible habitability. PLATO will be launched with a Soyuz in 2026 from Kourou and will perform continuous observations of large portions of the sky from the Lagrangian L2 point. The mission is led by DLR. IWF contributes to the development of the Router and Data Compression Unit (RDCU). Together with the University of Vienna, IWF takes part in the preparation for the science program and leads the work package on "Planetary Habitability". Further information about PLATO is found at ESA.  
JUICE  
JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) is ESA's first mission to the outer solar system. It will carry a total of ten scientific experiments to study the gas giant Jupiter and three of its largest moons, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. Planned for launch in 2022 by Ariane 5 and arrival at Jupiter in 2029, it will spend at least three years making detailed observations of the biggest planet in the Solar System and its moons. IWF Graz participates in the J-MAG magnetometer development with MAGSCA, has calibrated the antennas of the radio wave instrument (RPWI), and is a member in the team of the Particle Environment Package (PEP). Further information on JUICE is found at ESA and @ESA_JUICE.  
CUTE  
The Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE) is a NASA cubesat mission dedicated to the study of extrasolar planets. CUTE is currently foreseen for launch in September 2021 and will study the extended, escaping atmosphere of planets orbiting the brightest stars. The main science goal of CUTE is the study of the upper atmosphere of close-in planets by means of near ultraviolet transmission spectroscopy. Targets are therefore observed during planetary transits, meaning while the planet is passing in front of the star as seen from Earth. During transit, part of the stellar light passes through the planetary atmosphere, which leaves its fingerprint in the stellar spectrum. CUTE spectra will be used to extract and study the planetary atmospheric signature to improve our understanding of planet atmospheric escape. CUTE is built under the leadership of the University of Colorado at Boulder. CUTE is a 6U cubesat of the size of 30x20x10 cm, approximately two reams of A4 paper on top of each other. Because of the rectangular shape of the payload and not to lose collecting area, the telescope will carry a 20x8 cm rectangular mirror, which is 3.2 times more efficient than a circular mirror that could fit in the spacecraft. The nominal mission lifetime is seven months, during which the satellite will observe a sample of about 20 targets to study the chemical composition and physical properties of their upper atmosphere, which is believed to be escaping from the planet. IWF is providing the analysis of the optical system, the data simulator, and the data reduction pipeline. Detailed information can be found at the University of Colorado.  
CSES-2  
The China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellites (CSES) are scientific missions dedicated to the investigation and monitoring of variations of electromagnetic fields and waves as well as plasma parameters and particle fluxes in the near-Earth space which are induced by natural sources on ground like seismic and volcanic events After the successful launch of the first satellite CSES-1 in February 2018, the second satellite CSES-2 is scheduled for launch in 2022. It will be in the same Sun-synchronous circular low Earth orbit as CSES-1, with a local time of the descending node at 2 pm, but with a phase difference of 180 degrees. The combined observations of both satellites will double the detection probability of natural hazard-related events and will help to separate seismic from non-seismic events. In Austria, IWF is leading the field of earthquake related electromagnetic precursor research. With the instrument participation in the CSES-1 mission, IWF scientists have gained direct access to a new and unique set of electric and magnetic field data for natural hazard related precursor studies. IWF will again participate with a scalar magnetometer (CDSM) in CSES-2, which is planned to be nearly identical to the one aboard CSES-1. Only the sensor design will be taken from the instrument  developed for the European mission to Jupiter (JUICE). The updated sensor provides improved performance and represents a logical next step in the development flow of this novel instrument. The participation with the scalar magnetometer in the CSES-2 mission is mandatory for the accuracy of the magnetic field measurements and thus for the overall mission success. Furthermore, it will ensure that Austrian scientists and students are strongly involved in the technological achievements (reliability of a new technology and space qualification of a new sensor design) as well as scientific discoveries (e.g. earthquake related precursors in electromagnetic field data as well as ring and field aligned currents in the magnetosphere in close cooperation with the ESA Swarm mission) enabled by this unique mission constellation.  
Tianwen-1  
Tianwen-1 is a Chinese Mars orbiter, lander, and rover mission, wich was launched on 23 July 2020. The orbiter will reach the Martian atmosphere after a travel time of approximately seven months. It will then conduct a comprehensive remote sensing of the Red Planet, using seven scientific instruments. The rover, weighing around 200 kg, will be powered by solar panels. It will carry additional six instruments to probe the ground with radar, perform chemical analyses on the soil, and look for biomolecules and biosignatures. IWF has contributed to the magnetometer aboard the orbiter and helped with the calibration of the flight instrument.  
CHEOPS  
The CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) is an S-class ESA satellite mission dedicated to the study of extrasolar planets. CHEOPS, successfully launched on 18 Devember 2019, will observe planetary systems at an unprecedented photometric precision. The main science goals of CHEOPS are to find transits of small planets, known to exist from radial-velocity surveys, measure precise radii for a large sample of planets to study the nature of Neptune- to Earth-sized planets, and obtain precise observations of transiting giant planets to study their atmospheric properties. CHEOPS was built by an international consortium under the leadership of Willy Benz, Universiy of Bern, and ESA. CHEOPS weights about 200 kg and carries a 30 cm telescope. The satellite will fly at an altitude of about 700 km and it will observe roughly 500 bright stars, to characterize their planets, within three and a half years. CHEOPS will employ the transit method to precisely measure the size of planets, through the measurement of the dimming of light caused by the obscuration of part of the stellar disk by the planet. Together with previous radial velocity measurements, which deliver planetary masses, CHEOPS will provide us with precise densities that will tell us about the bulk composition, e.g. whether the planet is dominated by rocks, ice or gas or whether it hosts an atmosphere. IWF has built one of the two on-board computers, which controls the instrument, manages the science data, and stabilizes the detector temperature. The Exoplanets group was involved in the preparation of the CHEOPS mission at the science team level (performing observation feasibility modeling, understanding the host star properties and photometric behavior, and CHEOPS observing program definition). Furthermore, IWF is member of the CHEOPS Board. Detailed information can be found at the University of Bern and ESA.  
ATHENA  
ATHENA (Advanced Telescope for High-ENergy Astrophysics) is an X-ray telescope,  selected in June 2014 as the second large (L-class) mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision Programme. It is designed to study the hot and energetic universe, answering questions about the growth of back holes. To achieve the mission's science objectives, ATHENA carries a cryogenic X-ray spectrometer called the X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) and a Wide Field Imager (WFI), to which IWF will contribute. ATHENA is planned for launch in 2031. It will operate at L2, the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, in a large amplitude halo orbit. Following a detailed study phase, ATHENA will be proposed for "adoption" around 2021, before the start of the construction phase. Further information on ATHENA is found at ESA.  
ARIEL  
In March 2018, ARIEL (Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey) was selected as the fourth medium-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision programme. It will address fundamental questions on what exoplanets are made of and how planetary systems form and evolve by surveying a diverse sample of about 1000 extrasolar planets, simultaneously in visible and infrared wavelengths. ARIEL will focus on warm and hot planets, ranging from super-Earths to gas giants orbiting close to their parent stars. It is the first mission dedicated to measuring the chemical composition and thermal structures of hundreds of transiting exoplanets, enabling planetary science far beyond the boundaries of the Solar System. ARIEL will be launched on ESA's new Ariane 6 rocket from Europe's spaceport in Kourou in mid 2028. It will operate from an orbit around the second Lagrange point, L2, 1.5 million kilometres directly "behind" Earth as viewed from the Sun, on an initial four-year mission. Currently the satellite's design is defined, which would lead to the "adoption" of the mission – presently planned for 2020 – following which an industrial contractor will be selected to build it. IWF will participate in two scientific work packages. Further information on ARIEL is found at ESA.  
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Lead: Luca Fossati  
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IWF  
Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences Schmiedlstraße 6 8042 Graz, Austria T +43 (316) 4120-400 office.iwf@oeaw.ac.at Lustbühel Observatory Lustbühelstraße 46 8042 Graz, Austria Contact IWF InternAL  
The Team  
Directorate Exoplanets Planetary Atmospheres Space Plasma Physics On-Board Computers Space Magnetometers Satellite Laser Ranging  
Administration  
Team  
Planetary Atmospheres  
Lead Team Dr. Ute Amerstorfer Scientist T +43 (316) 4120 - 629 Ute.Amerstorfer(at)oeaw.ac.at Room 1.c.6  
Space Plasma Physics  
Lead Team Maike Bauer, BSc MSc Student T +43 (316) 4120 - 663 Maike.Bauer(at)oeaw.ac.at Room 2.a.2  
On-Board Computers  
Lead Team  
Space Magnetometers  
Lead Team  
Satellite Laser Ranging  
Lead Team  
Final Report  
Due to the solar wind streaming from the Sun into the interplanetary medium, the Earth’s magnetosphere, which is the region around Earth where its magnetic field is present, gets compressed on the sunside and elongated into a tail, the so-called magnetotail, on the nightside. Inside this magnetotail, the Earth’s magnetosphere is separated into a northern and southern hemisphere by a cross-tail current sheet. To study the dynamics of the Earth’s magnetotail, including substorms, the current sheet is usually considered to be plane for simplicity. However, in reality, the current sheet is bent due to the Earth’s dipole tilt angle and deviations of the solar wind stream from a purely radial propagation direction. In this project, we investigated the influence of current sheet bending on its stability to the transversal mode and on the onset of substorms. For this purpose we use analytical, numerical and observational methods. We obtained the following results: (1) The growth rate of an instability is more than two times larger in a bent current sheet than in a plane current sheet. Hence, current sheet bending is found to be a significant destabilizing factor. (2) The so-called double gradient instability corresponds to the compressible ballooning mode in the strongly stretched magnetotail. (3) While in a plane current sheet perturbations can be either symmetric (“kink”) or anti-symmetric (“sausage”), both kink and sausage modes coexist in a bent current sheet. (4) Over the course of time, a concurrence of stable and unstable modes can be found in our simulations. In a plane current sheet, the unstable mode dominates after about 1.5 to 2 hours, which is long compared to substorm onset timescales. However, in bent current sheets, the unstable mode dominates much faster, after about 5 minutes, which is consistent with substorm onset time scales. (5) Magnetic reconnection, a process during which magnetic energy is getting converted into plasma energy, enhances the instability growth rate for a factor of two. (6) Entropy does not affect the current sheet stability with respect to the considered mode. (7) A generalized instability criterion was derived, which is applicable not only in the strongly stretched region of the magnetotail, but also in the near-Earth region and for bent current sheets. This generalization allowed us to understand that the instability is controlled by second derivatives of the total pressure. (8) It was found that neither a wave nor an instability with a wave vector pointing toward the Earth/magnetotail can develop. These findings explain why flapping waves are observed predominantly in the orthogonal direction. (9) It was found that the phase velocity as function of wave number can have a local maximum – contrary to simple analytical models. Such behavior was confirmed by observations.  
Abstract  
The Evolution of Solar Storms in the Inner Heliosphere The goal of this project is to enhance our understanding of how solar storms move and expand in the solar wind between the Sun and the Earth. This is directly related to our capability to forecast their potentially disastrous consequences at Earth in real time. These storms, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), are expelled from the Sun’s outermost layer with enormous speeds of up to 3000 kilometers per second, and may reach Earth in one to five days. They are the source of the strongest disturbances of the Earth’s magnetosphere, and a “super CME event” may pose a great threat to our modern technological infrastructure, in particular to satellites in Earth orbit, flight crews on polar routes, and power grids on the ground. Thus, a strong incentive exists to check the validity of the results provided by various CME models. However, there has been a lack of verification of these results with multi-point in situ data of CMEs. This project aims at filling this gap. We pursue one main goal: to understand the propagation and shape of coronal mass ejections in the inner heliosphere. To this end, we define two working packages (WPs): in WP1 (METHOD DEVELOPMENT), new techniques are developed to model the evolution of CMEs with NASA/STEREO images. In WP2 (CME PROPAGATION AND PREDICTION), we will evaluate these model results and their predictions with multi-point in situ data of CMEs to determine their physical characteristics, such as their global shape, 3D-orientation, and kinematics. We will use data provided by the heliospheric network of suitable space probes currently operating: MESSENGER at Mercury, Venus Express at Venus, ACE/Wind at Earth, and STEREO-A/B in the solar wind. The results will be powerful software packages and analyses on CME evolution and their global shape, published in international peer-reviewed journals, and they will provide inputs for efforts on real time space weather prediction. Importantly, newly developed methods and results will also contribute to our understanding of the influence of CMEs on the atmospheres and magnetospheres of the terrestrial planets. Furthermore, the Solar Orbiter and Solar Probe Plus missions are currently designed and will approach the Sun closer than ever before by the end of the decade. The know-how of Austrian research in these fields, fostered in this project, will form a basis for the involvement in these future, promising missions.  
Final Report  
Conclusion - The Evolution of Solar Storms in the Inner Heliosphere In this project we invented a new method for modeling and predicting solar storms, based on data from an instrument which can make images of the solar wind, a stream of particles and magnetic fields emitted by the Sun. We compared the performance of this new method to commonly used CME prediction tools and found that we were able to improve the prediction accuracy of the arrival time and especially of the arrival speed. In another study, the model was applied to multi-spacecraft observations in order to verify the CME frontal shape as well as its kinematics at various points in space. This method is now the state-of-the-art and will be used on data from future spacecraft missions, such as Parker Solar Probe, Solar Orbiter, and a possible mission to the Lagrange 5 point of the Sun-Earth system. Similarly to a problem in weather forecasting on Earth, we found that the small errors in calculating the direction, speed and shape of the solar storm near the Sun, are a mostly unrecognized but major source for the errors in predicting the solar storm arrival time. Another process we found concerned the eruption of solar storms. Instead of erupting in a direction pointing straight away from the Sun, we now know that they can propagate under special circumstances along an angle of up to 45 degree. Thus, a solar storm that seems to be coming straight towards Earth might completely miss us, or one thought to miss us may nevertheless lead to a significant impact. One of the biggest unsolved problems in our field concerns how the magnetic field inside a solar storm core, which consists of organized field rotations, can be predicted. To this end, we tested in two studies, each with a single solar storm event, how either a new way of modeling the solar storm core or an observation at Venus orbit could make this possible. The results were positive in both studies, however, some free parameters would need to be constrained if these ideas were to be used in real-time. Our results hint that a ring of small spacecraft circling the Sun may lead to a solution of the problem for predicting the solar storm core magnetic fields. This could lead in the future to precise forecasts that may allow to mitigate power blackouts and improves aurora viewing for people at high latitudes. The project has thus made a significant impact in this field internationally, and laid the foundation for both the future involvement in exciting new space missions and the making of an Austrian space weather prediction servi Final report  
Abstract  
In order to understand the solar activity and its variability, it is essential to determine and to understand the mechanisms by which the energy generated in the Sun′s core is released into space. As important components in the chain of the solar energy transformations and transport appear the solar chromosphere and corona. Until now there is no clear understanding of the mechanism of coronal heating and energizing. Certain difficulties exist also with the explanation of the sharp temperature increase in the thin transition region between the upper chromosphere and the low corona. By this, among the major heating mechanisms in the solar atmosphere, the absorption of powerful energy flux carried by MHD waves generated in the photospheric convection, and the energy dissipation of the coronal electric currents, are widely considered. Staying within this paradigm, the project will focus on the study of the excitation of MHD waves and electric currents in the solar lower photosphere and their consequent transport and dissipation, by the ion-neutral collisions, in the solar chromosphere and corona. Special attention will be paid to the processes of nonlinear dynamics of MHD waves and the role of the increased amount of the neutral atoms provided by the presence of partially ionized helium in the coronal and chromospheric plasmas, which is taken into account in a physically correct self-consistent way. Theoretical studies proposed in the project will be combined with an extensive work on the analysis and interpretation of observational data provided by international observer teams cooperating with the project. The solar-stellar analogy regarding atmospheric composition and general stellar evolutionary laws makes the proposed investigation actual not only for the Sun, but also for other stars of the late spectral classes. The existing observational programs and space missions (SOLIS, GONG, SOHO, TRACE, RHESSI), recently launched (STEREO and HINODE (Solar-B)) as well as a number of future projects (SDO, Solar Orbiter, GREGOR, ATST) aimed at the exploration of the Sun and the solar system, require the initiation of a theoretical program whose thrust is specifically on the problems related to solar plasma dynamics as they are constrained by the observations. The creation of such a theoretical program has been discussed for some time in the solar community. In that respect, the investigations and collaborations proposed in the project could be considered as a part of the common international research effort. With its novel view on a composition and ionization degree of the solar coronal plasmas and related specifics of the energy release and dynamical processes there, as well as with the extensive study of nonlinear processes in partially ionized solar plasmas combined with the analysis of observational data provided by the international space programs, the project will contribute further development of physically consistent knowledge about the Sun.  
Final Report  
Theoretical investigation of MHD wave phenomena and oscillations in solar plasmas and interpretation of observations of dynamic and energy release processes in the solar atmosphere formed the primary focus of the project. Special attention was paid to the processes of nonlinear dynamics of MHD waves and the role of the increased amount of the neutral atoms provided by the presence of partially ionized helium and hydrogen in the solar chromospheric and coronal plasmas, which was taken into account in a physically correct self-consistent way. The theoretical part of the project comprised analytic approaches and numerical simulations aimed to quantify the complex dynamical and energy release processes in the solar plasmas. The observational and data analysis activity consisted in application of advanced data analysis techniques to the data from modern space missions and observational programs. One of the major achievements of the project consists in the development of a generic approach for description of dynamical and wave processes, using the methods of multi-fluid plasma magnetohydrodynamic (MHD). This approach was then applied for the investigation of dispersion properties and propagation features of the fundamental MHD wave-modes important in solar physics. The performed study confirmed the significance of ion-neutral collisions for the energy transport and heating processes in the partially ionized plasmas of the solar photosphere, chromosphere and prominences. It has been shown that also neutral helium may play, along with the neutral hydrogen, an additional important role for energy dissipation in moderately cold (10.000-40.000 K) plasmas of the solar prominences. Theoretical solar plasma physics studies were combined with the analysis and interpretation of observational data provided by international observer teams cooperating with the project. In particular, the phenomena of transverse oscillations, kink instability, and solitons in magnetic loops of flaring active regions, as well as kink waves in solar spicules were investigated and provided with physical explanations. Besides of that, a new mechanism for interpretation of 5-min oscillations in the solar corona due to the non-linear effects provoked by an initial velocity pulse has been proposed. In course of the project performance the members of project team initiated several follow-up FWF projects and played leading roles in the research and development consortia of three European projects: SolSpaNet (subdivision leader), Europlanet (subdivision leader), and IMPEx (project coordinator).  
History  
In 1947 Prof. Burkard from the Institute for Meteorology and Geophysics of the Karl Franzens University Graz installed an ionosonde to measure the electron density profiles of the electrically conductive upper layers of the atmosphere. This laid the foundations of ionospheric research. From 1966 artificial satellites were photographically recorded at the Observatory Graz-Lustbühel by Prof. Rinner, the Chair of Geodesy II of the Technische Hochschule Graz. In 1969 Prof. Riedler became the head of the newly-founded Institute of Communications and Wave Propagation of the Graz University of Technology. The Norwegian Research Council invited the Institute to develop the first Austrian instruments for space research purposes which were launched on 26 November 1969 on board of a sounding rocket (see illustration) from the launch site in Andøya, Vesterålen Islands, Norway. This was the first launch of Austrian instruments into space. On 24 April 1970 the Austrian Academy of Sciences decided to establish the Space Research Institute. It started its activities at different departments spread all over Austria (Graz, Innsbruck, and Vienna). In 1974/75 the Institute concentrated its activities in three departments in Graz. Prof. Burkard was appointed Managing Director and Prof. Riedler became Deputy Director. In 1982 Prof. Bauer followed Prof. Burkard as Department Head. In 1984 Prof. Riedler was appointed Managing Director. In 1990 Prof. Sünkel followed Prof. Rinner as Department Head. In 1999 Prof. Rucker followed Prof. Bauer as Department Head. In 2001 Prof. Baumjohann followed Prof. Riedler as Department Head. Prof. Sünkel was appointed Managing Director. In 2004 Prof. Baumjohann was appointed Managing Director. In 2015 the three departments were dissolved and the institute was restructured into four research fields. In 2019 the four research fields were divided into six research groups. IWF owes its high reputation to a large extent to the sophisticated instruments, which have been developed and built for numerous space missions since the eighties. ESA, NASA, and other organizations invite institutes worldwide to apply for participation in such missions. Many IWF proposals have been accepted. Book: Austria's History in Space  
Abstract  
In order to understand the solar activity and its variability, it is essential to determine and to understand the mechanisms by which the energy generated in the Sun′s core is released into space. As important components in the chain of the solar energy transformations and transport appear the solar chromosphere and corona. Until now there is no clear understanding of the mechanism of coronal heating and energizing. Certain difficulties exist also with the explanation of the sharp temperature increase in the thin transition region between the upper chromosphere and the low corona. By this, among the major heating mechanisms in the solar atmosphere, the absorption of powerful energy flux carried by MHD waves generated in the photospheric convection, and the energy dissipation of the coronal electric currents, are widely considered. Staying within this paradigm, the project will focus on the study of the excitation of MHD waves and electric currents in the solar lower photosphere and their consequent transport and dissipation, by the ion-neutral collisions, in the solar chromosphere and corona. Special attention will be paid to the processes of nonlinear dynamics of MHD waves and the role of the increased amount of the neutral atoms provided by the presence of partially ionized helium in the coronal and chromospheric plasmas, which is taken into account in a physically correct self-consistent way. Theoretical studies proposed in the project will be combined with an extensive work on the analysis and interpretation of observational data provided by international observer teams cooperating with the project. The solar-stellar analogy regarding atmospheric composition and general stellar evolutionary laws makes the proposed investigation actual not only for the Sun, but also for other stars of the late spectral classes. The existing observational programs and space missions (SOLIS, GONG, SOHO, TRACE, RHESSI), recently launched (STEREO and HINODE (Solar-B)) as well as a number of future projects (SDO, Solar Orbiter, GREGOR, ATST) aimed at the exploration of the Sun and the solar system, require the initiation of a theoretical program whose thrust is specifically on the problems related to solar plasma dynamics as they are constrained by the observations. The creation of such a theoretical program has been discussed for some time in the solar community. In that respect, the investigations and collaborations proposed in the project could be considered as a part of the common international research effort. With its novel view on a composition and ionization degree of the solar coronal plasmas and related specifics of the energy release and dynamical processes there, as well as with the extensive study of nonlinear processes in partially ionized solar plasmas combined with the analysis of observational data provided by the international space programs, the project will contribute further development of physically consistent knowledge about the Sun.  
Final Report  
Theoretical investigation of MHD wave phenomena and oscillations in solar plasmas and interpretation of observations of dynamic and energy release processes in the solar atmosphere formed the primary focus of the project. Special attention was paid to the processes of nonlinear dynamics of MHD waves and the role of the increased amount of the neutral atoms provided by the presence of partially ionized helium and hydrogen in the solar chromospheric and coronal plasmas, which was taken into account in a physically correct self-consistent way. The theoretical part of the project comprised analytic approaches and numerical simulations aimed to quantify the complex dynamical and energy release processes in the solar plasmas. The observational and data analysis activity consisted in application of advanced data analysis techniques to the data from modern space missions and observational programs. One of the major achievements of the project consists in the development of a generic approach for description of dynamical and wave processes, using the methods of multi-fluid plasma magnetohydrodynamic (MHD). This approach was then applied for the investigation of dispersion properties and propagation features of the fundamental MHD wave-modes important in solar physics. The performed study confirmed the significance of ion-neutral collisions for the energy transport and heating processes in the partially ionized plasmas of the solar photosphere, chromosphere and prominences. It has been shown that also neutral helium may play, along with the neutral hydrogen, an additional important role for energy dissipation in moderately cold (10.000-40.000 K) plasmas of the solar prominences. Theoretical solar plasma physics studies were combined with the analysis and interpretation of observational data provided by international observer teams cooperating with the project. In particular, the phenomena of transverse oscillations, kink instability, and solitons in magnetic loops of flaring active regions, as well as kink waves in solar spicules were investigated and provided with physical explanations. Besides of that, a new mechanism for interpretation of 5-min oscillations in the solar corona due to the non-linear effects provoked by an initial velocity pulse has been proposed. In course of the project performance the members of project team initiated several follow-up FWF projects and played leading roles in the research and development consortia of three European projects: SolSpaNet (subdivision leader), Europlanet (subdivision leader), and IMPEx (project coordinator).  
Abstract  
Planetary magnetospheres, in particular the Jovian magnetosphere, provide the conditions of a complex source of powerful coherent non-thermal radio emissions attributed to the mechanism of the cyclotron maser instability. This emission is a result of a complicated interaction between the exceptionally dynamic Jovian magnetosphere and energetic particles supplying the free energy from planetary rotation and the interaction between Jupiter and the Galilean moons. Thus, auroral radio emission can be regarded as a very good tool to survey the energy dissipation in the auroral zones as well as to remotely monitor the activity and dynamics of the Jovian magnetosphere. Main subject of the proposed research project is the Jovian decametric radio emission (DAM) – the strongest component of the auroral radio emission of Jupiter. The research program consists of two main parts. The first one is the investigation of the new type of periodic radio bursts in the non-Io component of Jovian DAM. These periodic bursts, recently discovered by our research group (IWF Graz) in radio spectra, recorded by several spaceborn radio experiments, are characterized by a very periodical reoccurrence during several Jupiter's days with a period ~1.5% longer than the rotation rate of the Jovian magnetosphere. Most probably this phenomenon is deeply connected with the complex interaction between the Jovian magnetosphere and sub-corotating highly structured plasma environment. Besides of the general scientific value, a full understanding of the nature of the periodic bursts may shed some light on the physics of the global plasma dynamics in the Jovian magnetosphere and its interaction with the solar wind. The second main part of the proposal is the investigation of the beaming properties of the Io controlled DAM. The use of the multispacecraft stereoscopic observations of the Jovian DAM is a very promising approach in the field of planetary magnetospheric radio physics. Both parts of the proposed research program include the analysis of the available observational data, development of theoretical models and physical scenarios for the interpretation of the observed phenomena. Based on an extensive international scientific collaboration with the leading planetary magnetospheric physics research groups the proposed project is of high actuality in view of future space missions to Jupiter, such as the NASA mission JUNO and joint NASA-ESA Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM).  
Final Report  
The magnetosphere of Jupiter is a complex source of a powerful radio emission which is a product of complicated interactions between the Jovian magnetosphere and energetic particles supplied by the free energy from the planetary rotation and the interaction between Jupiter and Galilean moons. The FWF project P23762-N16 "Multispacecraft observations of Jovian DAM" deals with the non-thermal decametric radio emission (DAM) which is the strongest component of Jupiter’s radiation. The main objectives of the project have been reached by studies on a new type of periodic decametric radio bursts and on the beaming properties of DAM using simultaneous observations from radio instruments on-board spacecraft and from ground-based radio telescopes. The main properties of the periodic radio bursts of DAM have been studied, which are characterized by a period which is 1.5% longer than the rotation of the Jovian magnetosphere. We have investigated the relations between the periodic bursts and the solar wind as well as the activity of the auroral region of Jupiter. A mechanism of the periodic bursts generation has been proposed. The performed analysis of the stereoscopic spacecraft observation of the DAM radio emission yields estimates of characteristics of the beaming properties of the DAM, controlled by the moon Io, such as the thickness of the emission cone. We also organized, together with international observer teams cooperating with this project, a long-lasting campaign of Jupiter observations using the large ground-based decametric radio telescopes. In the course of the analysis of the radio data we have discovered a new type of zebra-like striped narrowband structures in DAM which have never been reported before in this frequency range.