Space dosimetry

Introduction

Radiation dosimetry on board of space crafts is necessary for different reasons.

  1. First, astronauts are subject to an operational radiation safety program, including a dosimetry system to estimate their cumulative equivalent doses from space flights. 
  2. Secondly different experiments and instruments on board of a spacecraft can be affected by the space radiation. Radiation dose rates can vary with a factor two within the space craft, dependent upon the shielding, altitude and orientation of the space craft.
  3. In addition, there is also the variation in time due to the solar cycle and solar particle events (SPE’s), so it is necessary to continuously have a monitoring program for radiation doses in operation.
  4. Determination of radiation doses in space is not straightforward because the radiation spectrum is very complex and different from situations on earth. The radiation effects are dependent on the density of energy deposition along the radiation track.

Main activities

  • Characterization of dosemeters for high energy particles
  • Measuring doses in the ISS (International Space Station)

Applications

SCK•CEN has been active in space dosimetry measurements for several years. In collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and several international partners we have been running the DOBIES-project (Dosimetry for Biological Experiments in Space). With this project we try to develop a standard dosimetric method (as a combination of different techniques) to determine the absorbed doses in biological samples. We use different types of passive dosemeters, like thermoluminescent and optically stimulated luminescent detectors, to characterize the radiation field.

The last years we have participated in a whole series of space exposures in the ISS with our dosemeters: Expose-Eutef, YING B1/B2, DOSIS, SI (Space Intercomparison), YING, ...  

At present we are partner in the DOSIS3D project from the ESA.

Projects

  • DOSIS3D: Determination of dose distribution in the Columbus module of the ISS

Contact

Filip Vanhavere

dosimetry@sckcen.be