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Orion Space Solutions Program Supports a More Resilient U.S. Power Grid

Louisville, CO, July 7, 2020—Given the U.S. power grid’s complexity and interconnection, ensuring 24/7/365 electrical power generation to the nation demands diverse expertise. Not widely known by the public, space weather poses a great threat to electrical grid health. The Orion Space Solutions-led and National Science Foundation-funded Convergence Hub for the Exploration of Space Science (CHESS) project brings together critical cross-disciplinary knowledge and tools to address this challenge and enhance the grid’s resilience to space weather events.

“The CHESS program will change how we monitor, protect, and make decisions about the power grid we rely on in our daily lives,” says Bill Baker, ASTRA Senior Vice President of Data Solutions.

CHESS provides expertise, tools, and information from the space weather, geoscience, power utility, and data science communities to support decisions related to space-weather threats to the nation’s power grid.

CHESS connects these communities, providing information to support utility managers’ decision making, and allowing space weather researchers to better explore space weather events triggering of power outages. In partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, and UCLA, and a broad community of stakeholders, ASTRA has designed and developed the CHESS platform and will start to implement technology and knowledge sharing with various power utilities across North America.

“CHESS is like Google Maps with predictive intelligence for the power grid, putting the power of awareness and prediction into the hands of those who need to keep the lights on for society,” says Dr. Ryan McGranaghan, Principle Data Scientist at ASTRA and CHESS principal investigator.

“ASTRA is proud to be chosen by NSF to develop an intelligent data solution that could enhance forecasting of disruptive to the Earth’s power grid, with potential for catastrophic impact on human life,” McGranaghan says.

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