Dr Alex Hands
Academic and research departmentsDepartment of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is partnering with the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) on a joint mission to launch miniature sensors that will advance space weather measurement and modelling capabilities. The Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE) comprises two 6U cube-satellites that will be launched into a near-polar low earth orbit (LEO), targeting 500 km altitude, in 2021. The UK contribution to CIRCE is the In situ and Remote Ionospheric Sensing (IRIS) suite, complementary to NRL sensors, and comprising three highly miniaturised payloads provided to Dstl by University College London (UCL), University of Bath, and University of Surrey/Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). One IRIS suite will be flown on each satellite, and incorporates an ion/neutral mass spectrometer, a tri-band global positioning system (GPS) receiver for ionospheric remote sensing, and a radiation environment monitor. From the US, NRL have provided two 1U Triple Tiny Ionospheric Photometers (Tri-TIPs) on each satellite (Nicholas et al., 2019), observing the ultraviolet 135.6 nm emission of atomic oxygen at night-time to characterize the two-dimensional distribution of electrons.
The planned Galileo global navigation system will employ an array of satellites in medium Earth orbit. Internal charging is one of the primary hazards for any spacecraft in MEO and accordingly the Galileo test spacecraft, Giove-A, carries the 'SURF' detector to undertake measurements of internal charging currents deposited at three different shielding depths (0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 mm AI). Giove-A was successfully launched on 28th December 2005 into a 23,300 km circular, 56 degree inclination orbit. In this paper we provide data on the charging currents observed in 2006, with particular emphasis on two large charging events, one in April and one in December. Comparisons are made between the flight data and predictions made using ESA's internal charging tool, DICTAT, which employs the FLUMIC 'worst case' electron belt model. The DICTAT predictions of charging current are exceeded for a few days in the 1.5mm AI shielded plate in the course of the December event. © 2007 IEEE. © 2007 IEEE.
We report initial results from the EU FP7 Spaces- torm project on the experimental behavior of commonly-used space dielectric materials in an electron environment where the incident electron current is significantly below safe levels specified by design standards. The realistic electron environment facility (REEF), which uses an intense strontium-90 beta-emitting radioactive source to simulate the space environment, has been recommissioned at the University of Surrey for this purpose. Using a combination of shielding and variable source-sample separation REEF can achieve a very wide dynamic range in electron current, from the very high levels associated with an extreme space weather event, down to the levels below the Euro13 pean Cooperation for Space Standardization low temperature (
The upper atmosphere is a transition region between the neutron-dominated aviation environment and satellite environment where primary protons and ions dominate. We report high altitude balloon measurements and model results characterising this radiation environment for single event effects (SEE) in avionics. Our data, from the RaySure solid-state radiation monitor, reveal markedly different altitude profiles for low linear energy transfer (LET) and high LET energy depositions. We use models to show that the difference is caused by the influence of primary cosmic ray particles, which induce counts in RaySure via both direct and indirect ionization. Using the new Model of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation Effects (MAIRE), we use particle fluxes and LET spectra to calculate single event upset (SEU) rates as a function of altitude from ground level to the edge of space at 100 km altitude. The results have implications for a variety of applications including high altitude space tourism flights, UAVs and missions to the Martian surface.
Data from ground-level radiation monitors and cosmogenic nuclides are combined to a give a probability distribution for severe radiation events related to the well quantified event of 23 February 1956. Particle fluxes, single event effects rates and dose rates are calculated for ground-level and aerospace systems. The event of February 1956 would provide a challenge to air safety while more extreme events seen in historical records would challenge safety-critical ground systems. A new space weather hazard scale based on this event could be used to give rapid assessment of the radiation hazard using high latitude neutron monitor data.
Internal charging caused by energetic electrons is a recognized threat to critical space infrastructure such as navigation and communication satellites. In this paper the electric field developed inside selected on-board dielectrics over a 10-year period in a GPS-like orbit is modelled using actual charging currents measured directly in orbit. The charging currents provide both charge deposition and dose rate inputs to the model, the latter allowing the introduction of radiation induced conductivity (RIC) to improve realism. As expected we find that RIC is a mitigating factor for the electric fields but they can still become very large e.g. a 1.0 mm thickness of PEEK under 0.5mm of Al shielding would be at risk of breakdown almost throughout the mission. We also find that RIC tends to reduce sensitivity to space weather perturbations of the environment such as the April 2010 storm event. This seems physically reasonable but we also know that some satellite anomalies do correlate quite well with space weather and short term (daily) electron fluence increases. We recommend that correlation of anomaly data sets with electric field models of this type is undertaken in future: this will require accurate materials parameters and also needs to take account of sudden depletion of the electric field due to discharges. In addition more charging current sensors with greater shielding levels (>2mm Al equivalent) should be flown to allow modeling of a wider range of realistic cases, including inside well-shielded electronic boxes.
We use electron flux derived from the environment monitoring unit “(EMU)-SURF” current monitor on board a Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellation satellite to modify and update the model of outer belt electrons for dielectric internal charging (MOBE-DIC). We describe how this data set, together with data from similar current-measuring instruments on Van Allen Probes, Giove-A, and STRV1d, are used to improve and expand the model. We have extended the spatial range to include the inner belt, exploited EMU data to widen the energy range for the electron spectrum, updated the statistical analysis of flux variation using a data set double the size used for the original model, and established a new and independent latitude function that yields improved agreement in medium earth orbit compared to the original model. The model is entirely characterized by a set of equations and parameters that produce fluxes as a function of magnetic coordinates at three distinct statistical levels.
Historically, gathering data on atmospheric radiation levels during solar particle events (SPEs) has been difficult, as there is little or no time warning of events. Being able to accurately quantify radiation levels within the atmosphere during solar events is of significance to the aviation industry, as described in the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Space Weather manual, particularly during a large Ground Level Enhancement (GLE) where the ionising dose to passengers and crew can exceed the recommended general public annual dose limits, set by the International Commission for Radiological Protection (ICRP) Barlett, Beck, Bilski, Bottollier‐Depois, and Lindborg (2004), in one flight. The Smart Atmospheric Ionising RAdiation (SAIRA) Monitoring Network is a new system of handheld radiation detectors that can be carried on aircraft to monitor and record atmospheric radiation levels. The system operates via citizen science volunteers, who record radiation data as they travel for normal purposes. Over 30 flights have been conducted with volunteers to demonstrate that a citizen science network is possible. Volunteers have used a new Android application to record and upload data to a central server to form a database of flight measurements. The demonstration has shown there is a willingness in public volunteers to use radiation detectors and engage in science outreach. A fully developed system will ideally provide the capability to quantify radiation levels during a Solar Particle Event (SPE) or GLE and the data can be used by relevant organisations to minimise potential risks.
The NASA Radiation Dosimetry Experiment (RaD-X) successfully deployed four radiation detectors on a high altitude balloon for a period of approximately twenty hours. One of these detectors was the RaySure in-flight monitor, which is a solid-state instrument designed to measure ionizing dose rates to air crew and passengers. Data from RaySure on RaD-X show absorbed dose rates rising steadily as a function of altitude up to a peak at approximately 60,000 feet, known as the Pfotzer-Regener maximum. Above this altitude absorbed dose rates level off before showing a small decline as the RaD-X balloon approaches its maximum altitude of around 125,000 feet. The picture for biological dose equivalent, however, is very different. At high altitudes the fraction of dose from highly ionizing particles increases significantly. Dose from these particles causes a disproportionate amount of biological damage compared to dose from more lightly ionizing particles and this is reflected in the quality factors used to calculate the dose equivalent quantity. By calculating dose equivalent from RaySure data, using coefficients derived from previous calibrations, we show that there is no peak in the dose equivalent rate at the Pfotzer-Regener maximum. Instead the dose equivalent rate keeps increasing with altitude as the influence of dose from primary cosmic rays becomes increasingly important. This result has implications for high altitude aviation, space tourism and, due to its thinner atmosphere, the surface radiation environment on Mars
The radiation environment of the Galileo spacecraft is severe and poorly characterized. The Galileo orbit takes the spacecraft through the heart of the outer radiation belt, while the low levels of geomagnetic shielding throughout the orbit expose the spacecraft to intermittent intense fluxes of protons during Solar Energetic Particle Events. In the Galileo constellation, two Environmental Monitoring Units (EMU) are currently flying in two different orbital planes. These units monitor the radiation environment and provide critical information related to hazards for the host spacecraft and its payload. In this work, we present results from the analysis of the surface charge collecting plates and of the proton telescope sensors. The performed numerical calibration of the EMU sensors and the application of novel unfolding and in-flight cross-calibration techniques allow the calculation of high quality proton and electron differential fluxes. The creation of a high-quality, long-term EMU electron flux dataset, is a step forward towards the improved characterization of MEO environment through the update of existing or the development of new radiation environment models.
We take an initial look at hard single-event effects (SEEs) in power electronics and static random access memories (SRAMs) during space weather-induced extreme ground-level enhancement (GLE) events. We show that there is a significant risk of failure of silicon power metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) and insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) at ground level during a 10× February ’56 GLE. If the devices are not derated, then we find that 21% of power MOSFETs and 14% of IGBTs are, in the worst case, predicted to fail. The probability of failure increases to 68% and 52% during a once-in-a-10 000-year GLE for power MOSFETs and IGBTs, respectively. Silicon carbide devices show a lower failure rate by more than an order of magnitude, where only 2.8% are predicted to fail during a once-in-a-10 000-year GLE. It is clear that these events could disrupt critical infrastructure if mitigating precautions are not implemented.
The objective of the European Space Agency validation of internal charging tools using the realistic electron environmental facility (REEF) project is to assess the performance of internal charging tools against experimental measurements made at the REEF facility at the University of Surrey. REEF uses an intense strontium-90 beta-emitting radioactive source to simulate the space environment. This project is complemented by parallel experiments to derive material parameters, conducted by ONERA. We report results from REEF with four different types of dielectric material and compare these results to predictions from the DICTAT, MCICT, and NUMIT internal charging simulation tools. The materials under investigation are Cirlex, PEEK, FR4, and Neoflon (FEP). We find that in many cases, the computer codes struggle to recreate REEF results, which raises significant questions over the validity of internal charging mitigation analyses. We show the advantages and disadvantages of each model and suggest what features could be added in order to improve the fidelity of their predictions.
In 1998, the first Polar route test flight between Asia and North America was carried out. By the end of 2009, over 10,000 Polar flights will have taken place. However, as cross polar traffic continues to increase, the aviation industry is realising the impacts that space weather has on high-altitude, high-latitude, flights (>50N) and polar operations (>78N). Effects include disruption in High Frequency (HF) communications, satellite navigation system errors, and radiation hazards to humans and avionics. These concerns not only apply to current operations, but become even more important at all latitudes when considered within the framework for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), an interagency initiative to transform the U.S. air transportation system by 2025. The AMS/SolarMetrics report, Integrating Space Weather Observations and Forecasts into Aviation Operations (published March 2007), offers recommendations to increase the safety, reliability, and efficiency of aviation operations through more effective use of space weather information. This report highlighted several policy issues that need to be addressed to ensure the best use of current and future space weather information, namely: . Communication of space weather information . Standardization of information and regulations . Education and training . Cost benefit and risk analysis SolarMetrics is working with the airline and space transportation industries to identify and develop new integrated space weather services that will meet their demands for real-time operational decision tools and products. This poster will present some of the operational issues raised above and how they are being tackled.
Solar energetic particle events create radiation risks for aircraft, notably single event effects (SEEs) in microelectronics along with increased dose to crew and passengers. In response to this, some airlines modify their flight routes after automatic alerts are issued. At present these alerts are based on proton flux measurements from instruments on-board satellites, so it is important that contemporary atmospheric radiation measurements are made and compared. This paper presents the development of a rapid-response system built around the use of radiosondes equipped with a radiation detector, Zenith, which can be launched from a Met Office weather station after significant solar proton level alerts are issued. Zenith is a compact, battery-powered solid-state radiation monitor designed to be connected to a Vaisala RS-92 radiosonde which transmits all data to a ground station as it ascends to an altitude of ~33 km. Zenith can also be operated as a stand-alone detector when connected to a laptop, providing real-time count rates. It can also be adapted for use on unmanned aerial vehicles. Zenith has been flown on the Met Office Civil Contingency Aircraft (MOCCA), taken to the CERN-EU high energy Reference Field (CERF) facility for calibration and launched on a meteorological balloon at the Met Office's weather station in Camborne, Cornwall, UK. During this sounding, Zenith measured the Pfotzer-Regener maximum to be at an altitude of 18 - 20 km where the count rate was measured to be 1.15 counts s-1 cm-2 compared to 0.02 counts s-1 cm-2 at ground level.
Results are presented from evaluations of radiation dosimeters prior to a NASA high-altitude balloon flight, the RaD-X mission. Four radiation dosimeters were onboard RaD-X: a Far West Hawk (Version 3), a Teledyne dosimeter (UDOS001), a Liulin dosimeter (MDU 6SA1), and a RaySure dosimeter (Version 3b). The Hawk is a tissue-equivalent proportional counter (TEPC) and the others are solid-state Si sensors. The Hawk served as the "flight standard" and was calibrated for this mission. The Si-based dosimeters were tested to make sure they functioned properly prior to flight, but were not calibrated for the radiation environment in the stratosphere. The dosimeters were exposed to 60Co gamma-rays and 252Cf fission radiation (which includes both neutrons and gamma rays) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The measurement results were compared with results from standard "benchmark" measurements of the same sources and source-to-detector distances performed contemporaneously by LLNL calibration facility personnel. For 60Co gamma rays, the dosimeter-to-benchmark ratios were 0.84 ± 0.06, 1.07 ± 0.32, 1.31 ± 0.07, and 0.82 ± 0.24 for the TEPC, TID, Liulin, and RaySure, respectively. For 252Cf radiation, the dosimeter-to-benchmark ratios were 0.94 ± 0.15, 0.55 ± 0.18, 0.58 ± 0.08, and 0.33 ± 0.12 for the TEPC, TID, Liulin, and RaySure. Some examples of how the results were used to help interpret the flight data are also presented.
This paper focuses on the study of internal charging of four space used polymers: polyetheretherketone, fluorinated ethylene propylene, polyimide films, and epoxy based material (Epoxy FR4). Experiments were carried out for each material using the GEODUR facility (Toulouse, ONERA) that mimics the geostationary space environment behind shielding. Two different irradiation currents have been applied: 1 pA/cm2 and 10 pA/cm2. 1 pA/cm2 is used to analyze the charging behavior and the intrinsic electrical properties of each polymer. 10 pA/cm2 is used to study the influence of high electric field levels on their charging behavior. In this paper, two different numerical tools used for the study of internal charging are presented: Monte-Carlo Internal Charging Tool (MCICT) and Transport of Holes and Electrons Model under Irradiation in Space (THEMIS). MCICT has been used in the space community for several years. THEMIS has been recently developed at ONERA and is compared to MCICT. Both numerical tools showed consistent results for the 1 pA/cm2 integrated current but with deviations for the 10 pA/cm2 integrated current, supposedly due to nonlinear electric field effects on charge transport. THEMIS has a more refined physical model for the conductivity than MCICT. It studies more accurately the electron-polymer interactions and the charge transport kinetics of polymers under space radiations. Subsequently, the analysis of the underlying physical phenomena responsible for the polymers’ charging behaviors will be carried out with THEMIS. In addition, studying these phenomena will permit to assess the risks of electrical discharges that may occur on a spacecraft in orbit (e.g., Geostationary (GEO) spacecraft) or during an elliptic trajectory (e.g., sub-GEO) in an Electric Orbit Raising case [E. Y. Choueiri, A. J. Kelly, and R. G. Jahn, J. Spacecr. Rockets 30(6), 749–754 (1993)].
Satellite charging is one of the most important risks for satellites on orbit. Satellite charging can lead to an electrostatic discharge resulting in component damage, phantom commands, and loss of service and in exceptional cases total satellite loss. Here we construct a realistic worst case for a fast solar wind stream event lasting 5 days or more and use a physical model to calculate the maximum electron flux greater than 2 MeV for geostationary orbit. We find that the flux tends toward a value of 106 cm−2·s−1·sr−1 after 5 days and remains high for another 5 days. The resulting flux is comparable to a 1 in 150‐year event found from an independent statistical analysis of electron data. Approximately 2.5 mm of Al shielding would be required to reduce the internal charging current to below the National Aeronautics and Space Administration‐recommended guidelines, much more than is currently used. Thus, we would expect many satellites to report electrostatic discharge anomalies during such an event with a strong likelihood of service outage and total satellite loss. We conclude that satellites at geostationary orbit are more likely to be at risk from fast solar wind stream event than a Carrington‐type storm.
High-energy trapped electrons in the Van Allen belts pose a threat to the survivability of orbiting spacecraft. Two key radiation effects are total ionizing dose and displacement damage dose in components and materials, both of which cause cumulative and largely irreversible damage. During an extreme space weather event, trapped electron fl uxes in the Van Allen belts can increase by several orders of magnitude in intensity, leading to an enhanced risk of satellite failure. We use extreme environments generated by modeling and statistical analyses to estimate the consequences for satellites in terms of the radiation effects described above. A worst-case event could lead to signi fi cant losses in power generating capability — up to almost 8% — and cause up to four years ’ worth of ionizing dose degradation, leading to component damage and a life-shortening effect on satellites. The consequences of such losses are hugely signi fi cant given our increasing reliance on satellites for a vast array of services, including communication, navigation, defense, and critical infrastructure.
Abstract The NASA Radiation Dosimetry Experiment (RaD-X) stratospheric balloon flight mission obtained measurements for improving the understanding of cosmic radiation transport in the atmosphere and human exposure to this ionizing radiation field in the aircraft environment. The value of dosimetric measurements from the balloon platform is that they can be used to characterize cosmic ray primaries, the ultimate source of aviation radiation exposure. In addition, radiation detectors were flown to assess their potential application to long-term, continuous monitoring of the aircraft radiation environment. The RaD-X balloon was successfully launched from Fort Sumner, New Mexico (34.5°N, 104.2°W) on 25 September 2015. Over 18 hours of flight data were obtained from each of the four different science instruments at altitudes above 20 km. The RaD-X balloon flight was supplemented by contemporaneous aircraft measurements. Flight-averaged dosimetric quantities are reported at seven altitudes to provide benchmark measurements for improving aviation radiation models. The altitude range of the flight data extends from commercial aircraft altitudes to above the Pfotzer maximum where the dosimetric quantities are influenced by cosmic ray primaries. The RaD-X balloon flight observed an absence of the Pfotzer maximum in the measurements of dose equivalent rate.