How Space Weather Can Affect Drone Light Shows

A demonstration of space weather which refers to the conditions in space that can affect Earth and its technological systems such as GPS which helps power our Drone Light Shows.

At Electric Airshows, we provide Drone Light Shows that have become increasingly popular in recent years. These shows are known for their synchronised movements and dazzling displays of light, and are enjoyed by audiences around the world. However, one factor that can impact the success of these shows is space weather.

What is Space Weather?

Space weather refers to the conditions in space that can affect Earth and its technological systems. These conditions can cause disruptions in communication systems, power grids, and navigation systems, and can also affect drone operations. As a result, it is important to understand how space weather can impact Drone Light Shows and to take appropriate measures to mitigate these risks.

One of the main ways that space weather can affect Drone Light Shows is through GPS disruption. GPS signals are essential for drones to navigate and maintain their position, and disruptions to these signals can cause drones to lose their position, fly erratically, or even crash. This is particularly problematic for Drone Light Shows, where precise positioning is critical for creating complex patterns and synchronised movements.

Geomagnetic Storms Can Disrupt GPS

Geomagnetic storms, which are caused by disturbances in Earth’s magnetic field, can disrupt GPS signals and other communication systems. These storms can also cause power outages and damage to satellites, which can further impact drone operations. In extreme cases, drones may not be able to operate at all during a geomagnetic storm, which can result in cancelled or delayed shows.

Solar flares and coronal mass ejections can also impact drone operations by causing changes in Earth’s ionosphere, which can affect communication and navigation systems. These events can cause radio blackouts and disrupt satellite communications, which can impact Drone Light Shows that rely on these systems for communication and control.

Space Weather Impact on Drone Light Shows

In addition to GPS and communication disruptions, space weather can also impact the safety of drone operations. Strong solar winds, which are high-speed streams of charged particles emitted by the sun, can create turbulence in Earth’s upper atmosphere. This turbulence can cause drones to experience unexpected changes in altitude or direction, which can be dangerous for both the drones and the audience below.

To mitigate the impact of space weather on Drone Light Shows, we monitor space weather conditions and plan accordingly. This includes adjusting the timing or location of shows to avoid periods of high space weather activity or implementing backup systems in case of GPS or communication disruptions. For example, we use ground-based positioning systems or visual markers to supplement GPS positioning.

Back-Up Plans

We also have contingency plans in place in case of unexpected disruptions. This includes having backup drones and controllers available or having emergency procedures in place to safely ground drones in case of a GPS or communication failure.

While Drone Light Shows have become a popular and exciting form of entertainment, the impact of space weather on these shows must be addressed. By monitoring space weather conditions and implementing appropriate mitigation strategies, Electric Airshows can ensure the safety and success of our shows, even in the face of space weather disruptions.

Client testimonials

Electric Airshows integrated a Drone Light Show element to our fireworks and multimedia extravaganza, bringing a new creative medium to the skies above our venue.

Chris Carter, Merlin Entertainments

To fly the nation state flag, offshore, at such short notice, bought to our event an element never previously seen and made a huge impact on social media

Dashka Tolkecheva, UA Events

Working with Electric Airshows added a dynamic drone light show element to our private show, which alongside the fireworks and pyrotechnics created a new multi dimensional experience for our guests.

Jon Kellett, Starlight Design

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