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Last Updated: 03/01/2024


Version: 00

NRLMSISE-00 is an empirical, global reference atmospheric model of the Earth from ground to space. It models the temperatures and densities of the atmosphere's components. A primary use of this model is to aid predictions of satellite orbital decay due to atmospheric drag. This model has also been used by astronomers to calculate the mass of air between telescopes and laser beams in order to assess the impact of laser guide stars on the non-lasing telescopes.

The model, developed by Mike Picone, Alan Hedin, and Doug Drob, is based on the earlier models MSIS-86 and MSISE-90, but updated with actual satellite drag data. It also predicts anomalous oxygen.

NRL stands for the US Naval Research Laboratory. MSIS stands for mass spectrometer and incoherent scatter radar, the two primary data sources for development of earlier versions of the model. E indicates that the model extends from the ground through exosphere and 00 is the year of release.

Over the years since introduction, NRLMSISE-00 has become the standard for international space research.


The inputs for the model are:

Year and day

time of day

geodetic altitude from 0 to 1,000 km

geodetic latitude longitude

local apparent solar time

81-day average of F10.7 solar flux

daily F10.7 solar flux for previous day

Daily magnetic index


Output of the model includes:

Helium number density

Oxygen(O) number density

Oxygen (O2) number density

Nitrogen (N) number density

Nitrogen (N2) number density

Argon number density

H Hydrogen number density

total mass density

Anomalous oxygen number density

Exospheric temperature

temperature at altitude


  • Thermosphere

Space Weather Impacts

  • Atmosphere variability (satellite/debris drag)



Code Languages: Fortran


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