The performance of radio systems used in space based communication, navigation and remote sensing is affected by the ionospheric variability. Moreover, ionospheric disturbances caused by space weather effects may degrade the accuracy, reliability and availability of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as GPS and the future civilian European system Galileo.
The project IMPC has the objective to further develop its pilot project Space Weather Application Center Ionosphere (SWACI, http://swaciweb.dlr.de, 2004-2011) into a competitive, stable real time data center for ionosphere weather with the name Ionosphere Monitoring and Prediction Center (IMPC). This service is in particular relevant for users of communication and navigation system, since their performance and availability can be strongly decreased by disturbances due to space weather effects. The IMPC at DLR will provide users with real-time information, predictions and if appropriate warnings about the ionospheric state. Already in 2004 the Institute of Communication and Navigation has initiated with SWACI a feasibility study financially supported by the federal state Mecklenburg –Western Pomerania. SWACI should demonstrate that a continuous service of real-time and prediction services of the Ionosphere is possible. Since then, SWACI has been continuously extended and improved. Supported by the DLR Technology Marketing the transformation of SWACI into a modern IMPC has now started. The IMPC will provide the next generation of highly reliable state of the art ionosphere products. The IMPC, as a permanent ionospheric weather service, will use ground and space based GNSS data from extended geodetic networks such as IGS and satellite missions such as GRACE, respectively. The long term experience of DLR Neustrelitz in respect to reception, archiving and use of remote sensing data in operational mode will be used within the IMPC. Hence a fully automated Data Information and Management System (DIMS) will be operated, which was developed at DLR for quality control, long-term data archiving as well as for dissemination of data to the end users. IMPC products are disseminated via the website impc.dlr.de or swaciweb.dlr.de.
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