Coordination Action for the integration of

Solar System Infrastructures and Science

Community Coordination – Projects

Solar Orbiter Mission

Solar Orbiter is a mission that was conceived to perform a close-up study of the Sun and inner heliosphere – the uncharted innermost regions of our Solar System. Carrying its compliment of ten instruments to one-quarter of the Earth's distance from the Sun – closer than ever before – Solar Orbiter will pursue the following scientific objectives: i) to determine in-situ, the properties and dynamics of plasma, magnetic fields and particles in the near-Sun heliosphere; iii) to survey the fine detail of the Sun's magnetised atmosphere; iii) to identify the links between activity on the Sun's surface and the resulting evolution of the corona and inner heliosphere; iv) to observe and characterise the Sun's polar regions and equatorial corona from high latitudes

The mission was approved by ESA in October 2011 and is scheduled for launch in 2017. The instruments teams involved are now moving from the study phase to the implementation phase in which they start constructing their instruments; as part of this they are now talking in earnest about science operational, including planning and data management.

Several of the partners of CASSIS are also involved in Solar Orbiter – FHNW on X-ray spectrometer/telescope (STIX) and ROB and UCL on the EUV full-Sun and high-resolution imager (EUI); in addition other partners in the three FP7 project involved in CASSIS are also involved in STIX – TCD is involved in the data management on STIX.

Given the interest of the partners, shortly after approval an approach was made to the ESA Science Team suggesting that CASSIS could provide guidance on all issues related to data content and management and on how to produce systems that were interoperable with existing capabilities. Following this initial approach, the CASSIS was invited to participate in some of the Solar Orbiter discussions:

  • A mini-SWT (Science Working Team) meeting was in conjunction with the AGU meeting in San Francisco on 7 December 2011 – more than 20 scientists from various instrument teams attended. At the meeting, as part of the discussion, we outlined how CASSIS could help provide for the design of data products and services. Our ideas were well received by those present particularly since they should result in improved capabilities for the mission.
  • The first SOWG (Science Operations Working Group) meeting after the mission was selected was held at ESTEC on 23-26 January 2012. At this we made a more detailed presentation of concepts and standards that could be adopted by the project including pressing the idea of considering any capabilities that they developed as part of a larger collaborative environment for heliophysics. CASSIS has been included in the Data Analysis Working Group (DAWG) that has been established to consider what should be done; this will led by Peter Gallagher (TCD), one of the partners in the HELIO project.
  • The Fifth Solar Orbiter Workshop was held in Brugge, Belgium from 10-24 September 2012. A special session was held to discuss the data systems that the experiment teams will need to prepare to test and operate the mission and the CASSIS ideas presented. In subsequent discussions with the ESA person responsible (Luis Sanchez, ESA/ESAC) a possibility to contribute to the guidance material that ESA is preparing for the Experiment teams.
The involvement of CASSIS in the Solar Orbiter mission represents a significant step in the objective of the project in fostering the ideas of standards and interoperability. Around thirty groups are involved in the teams fabricating the 10 instruments for Solar Orbiter (4 in-situ and 6 remote-sensing) and all of these are of course also involved in other projects; this provides an excellent avenue through which our ideas can be spread.



Coordination Activities

CC Meetings

CESRA Workshop
La Roche en Ardenne,

EAST Workshop
Tatranska Lomnica,

ESWW 2010
Bruges, Belgium

ESWW 2011
Namur, Belgium

ESWW 2012
Brussels, Belgium

ESWW 2013
Antwerp, Belgium

Athens, Greece

Science Operations
Madrid, Spain  




Solar Orbiter