Our Expertise

Our Expertise

Our work extends from fundamental physics research of the ionosphere (including complex modeling, simulation, data collection, analysis, and assimilation)…to specialized instrumentation (both ground and space-based).

Space Weather

Measurement, Prediction, Modeling

SPACE WEATHER - Measurement, Prediction, ModelingASTRA was built on a foundation of decades of experience in fundamental space physics research. Our world-class modeling capabilities allow us to design, develop, build, and deploy novel ground-based and space-based systems. Our instrumentation and sophisticated prediction models are used by us and by our customers. ASTRA strives to continually advance our research and operational capabilities to improve our understanding of space weather, assess its impacts, and advise on global implications for space situational awareness.


Design and Implementation

CUBESATSASTRA’s innovations in CubeSat technology represent potentially significant savings for our customers. With a proven track record and current work on several new cutting-edge instruments, ASTRA strives to develop affordable CubeSat-capable instrument designs that are low-power yet robust. Our affordable CubeSat solutions fuel our vision of CubeSat constellations able to provide comprehensive measurements not afforded by any current missions.

Sensors for Space Monitoring

Sensors for Space MonitoringOne of ASTRA’s core competencies is the design and development of new satellite instrumentation and control systems that have small size, weight and power requirements, while retaining robust operation in space environments.

Several types of instruments have been developed for CubeSat operation. They include both in-situ and remote sensing techniques.


GPS/GNSSASTRA has commercially available GPS Space Weather monitoring systems that provide real-time measurements of ionospheric TEC and scintillation. ASTRA’s proprietary tracking algorithms provide superior stability and robustness during high scintillation periods.

In competitive studies, our instruments have proven to be more effective at maintaining satellite lock through severe scintillation–when data needs are most critical to vital systems—thus providing a more complete data set for analysis, prediction, and modeling.

HF Communications

HF Comms AvailabilityASTRA’s focus is on understanding the full range of effects covering equatorial, mid-latitude, and polar ionospheres and their impact on HF communications. This enables us to provide superior modeling and prediction tools for HF propagation conditions in a truly global sense for air, maritime, and terrestrial users.

Analysis of Alternatives / Observation System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs)

Space Situational AwarenessASTRA has modeling, simulation, and planning tools that enable us to perform Analysis of Alternatives and Observation System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) when deploying multiple-satellite systems. Use of these tools allows us to provide rapid advice when optimizing both the procurement and deployment of ground-based and satellite-based observing systems, potentially realizing huge savings in costs.  ASTRA’s tools can help optimize the placement of sensors, anticipate and quantify the impact of losing existing sensors.


ASTRA is the prime contractor for several related development efforts for ionospheric modeling and simulation that utilize first-principles and assimilative models. Of particular interest are the effects of Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances (TIDs). With our in-depth understanding of gravity waves and TIDs, ASTRA has the ability to predict their impact on communications, navigation, and surveillance systems.

  • Real-time ionospheric predictions provide an alternative solution for raytracing applications and simulation of TID effects for geolocation.
  • ASTRA’s HF TID mapping system can provide complete characterization of the wave fields present in the F-region ionosphere in real-time.

Satellite Aerodynamics and Orbital Drag Prediction

ASTRA’s expertise in aerodynamics and satellite drag is sought out by both spacecraft and instrument designers.  This capability is employed in developing satellite missions, and improved techniques for understanding and measuring satellite drag, thus enabling more accurate orbit prediction and collision avoidance.  We couple high-accuracy atmospheric simulations with our state-of the art aerodynamic coefficient models to provide physics-based estimates of satellite forces.

Rarefied Gas Dynamics and Gas Surface Interactions for Spaceflight Applications

ASTRA is a leader in analyzing spaceflight data to support development of Gas-Surface interaction models that can be used to simulate the scattering of atmospheric molecules from spacecraft surfaces. They are also used to predict the propagation and effects of atomic oxygen onto spacecraft components, and advise the design of scientific instruments and components including focusing devices and accommodation chambers.

Satellite re-entry and DSMC

Satellites which are re-entering or which dip low into the thermosphere from highly eccentric orbits are affected by transition aerodynamics associated with the higher gas densities below 150km. ASTRA has the expertise and tools necessary to model such objects and predict their behavior.

Retrieving Atmospheric Densities

We provide data-analysis services for satellite accelerometer and orbital-tracking data using state-of-the-art satellite aerodynamic models. This includes deriving winds and densities from space-borne accelerometers, as well as the processing of orbital tracking data for a  diverse set of objects.  Our capabilities include the generation of thermospheric densities from passive satellites and even space-debris and enables monitoring the atmosphere through measurements of opportunity.

Tides and Planetary Waves

ASTRA has developed various modeling and data analysis tools for characterizing tides and planetary waves in the atmosphere. These include advanced spectral analysis techniques, wavelet kit, classical Hough mode calculation, Eliassen-Palm flux estimation, propagation manifold analysis, and other techniques. ASTRA has a proven track record in the analysis of data from ground-based and satellite platforms.

Ionospheric Response to Lower Atmosphere Sudden Stratospheric Warming

ASTRA is at the forefront of cutting-edge research to understand the intricate coupling between the ionosphere and the lower atmosphere. Using various satellite datasets and ASTRA’s data assimilation model, we are investigating the impact of Sudden Stratospheric Warming on the upper atmosphere and ionosphere.

Ionospheric TID maps

ASTRA’s TEC maps over CONUS utilize over 4,000 GPS stations to capture and track Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances (TIDs).

Airglow models

ASTRA has developed various models of OH Meinel band and 6300 nm airglow. In addition, ASTRA is a leader in analyzing OH and O2 At (0,1) airglow data to derive upper mesospheric temperatures.