Chris Rees

Postgraduate Research Student


My research project


C.T. Rees, K.A. Ryden, A.D.P. Hands, B. Clewer (2023)Radiation risk assessment for varying space weather conditions for very high altitude 'near space' tourism balloon flights, In: Journal of space safety engineering10(2)pp. 197-207 Elsevier Ltd

•MAIRE and CARI-7 modelling of cosmic radiation doses for Very High Altitude ‘Near Space’ Tourism observation balloon flights, and Space Weather enhancements.•Comparison of SAIRA radiation detector flight data and modelled Very High Altitude ‘Near Space’ Tourism flights.•Radiation risk assessment of Very High Altitude flights for a number of launch locations to a maximum flight altitude of 30 km (100,000 ft). Within the next decade it is likely that the space tourism industry will grow dramatically and the number of humans travelling into, and beyond, the stratosphere via commercial entities such as World View and Space Perspective will increase. Current space tourism ventures focus on long duration very high altitude balloon flights; also known as ‘near space’ flights, sub-orbital flights and visits to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). In the next few decades space tourism is ultimately likely to become routine. During these new commercial ventures the effects of cosmic radiation exposure, especially during sudden changes in space weather, such as ground level enhancement (GLE) events, could have significant health implications for crew and passengers. The risks from these rapid changes in space weather and potential radiation exposure during flights is not currently fully understood or even acknowledged. Legislation and regulation for such enterprises is also in its infancy with little or no guidance for commercial entities or potential passengers. Initial work at the University of Surrey has focused on very high altitude ‘near space’ balloon flights. World-wide launch locations for flights have been modelled using MAIRE and CARI-7 computer programs. Flight routes have been monitored, for current commercial and higher flight levels, using the Smart Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation (SAIRA) detector. The modelled flight profiles have been compared with detector data, up to a maximum flight altitude of 30 km (100,000 ft), with varying space weather conditions, from norms to extreme events, to assess the radiation risk presented by potential exposure. Plain Language Summary: An assessment of the risks and potential radiation exposure from flying to ‘near space’ within newly designed observation balloons at very high altitude in the upper atmosphere above the Earth. Looking at the impact of radiation from the sun and sources outside the solar system, and critically when these conditions vary which could result in high levels of exposure.