Whitepaper #017 in the Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) 2024-2033. Main topics: basic research; space weather applications. Additional topics: planetary ionospheres / upper atmospheres; user-need-driven basic space weather research; space weather [...]
The thermosphere is largely composed of neutral atomic oxygen (O). Continuous O density monitoring using a constellation of CubeSats will provide real-time data for atmospheric heating/cooling models in addition to providing a means to accurately determine drag on constellations of low-earth-orbiting communications satellites. This data is fundamental to space weather prediction agencies.