The connection between space weather and Single Event Upsets in polar low earth orbit satellites

Sari Katz*, Uriel Goldvais, Colin Price

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Space weather is driven and modulated by the activity in the Sun. Space weather events have the potential to inflict critical damage to space systems. Nowadays, space assets are essential in our basic needs, such as communications, cell phone networks, navigation systems, television and internet. Hence, understanding space weather dynamics and its effects on spacecraft is crucial for satellites engineers and satellite operators, in order to prevent and mitigate its impacts. In the last decade our Sun has erupted several times causing dozens of space weather events. Some of these led to satellite malfunctions and outages lasting from mere hours, up to days and weeks. This research is focused on two different space weather events, March 7–8, 2012, and September 6–10, 2017, that occurred during the last ten years and caused satellite anomalies that are related to an increase in the single event upsets rate. Single event upset is a bit flip in a memory device due to high energy particle interaction with the device sensitive volume. During these two periods, Eros B, a low Earth orbiting polar satellite detected an increased rate of single event upsets on two of its processing computers when the high energy proton flux was elevated. On both occasions X-class flares were detected, and the increased single event upsets count rate in Eros B took place only after the 100 MeV protons flux was three orders of magnitude above the background levels. In this research, Israeli satellite anomalies that were detected are first demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3237-3249
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 May 2021


  • CME
  • Low Earth Orbit
  • Satellite Anomalies
  • Single Event Upset
  • Space Weather


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