Cubesat Radiation Environment Monitoring Experiment

In June 2011, the OCDE (Future Global Shocks) identified geomagnetic storms (of solar origin) as one of the 5 major potential risks for the coming years. Among other things, events related to solar activity can have an impact on civil and military terrestrial satellites of telecommunication, navigation and observation. Communications (HF / VHF / UHF), ROEM (Magnetic Electromagnetic Intelligence), GNSS navigation, radar detection, … can be disrupted. There is currently no meteorological service for the radiative environment of satellites with predictive capability in Europe. The starting point of such a service is to have in-situ measurements available to better know the current state of radiation levels and in the long term predict their evolution in the future. In addition, the arrival of Earth Orbit Rising (EOR) telecommunications satellites has brought to light new vulnerabilities to space radiation, previously underestimated (in terms of effects and dynamics).

The Cubesat project for Radiation Environment Monitoring Experiment (CREME) was submitted to the Occitanie region in the spring. It aims to develop a payload composed of a charged particle detector at moderate cost. It will be dedicated to both space weather and the measurement of the radiative environment that constrains the EOR missions, while guaranteeing quality measures. Its small footprint will allow validation via a flight on a CubeSat 3U. The detector envisaged is based on the principle of silicon diodes associated with an optimized shielding to discriminate charged particles encountered in space environment (protons of energy larger than MeV and electrons beyond a few hundred keV). It must have a cost and a low footprint and its design should easily adapt to any type of platforms (industrial or scientific).

The 3U platform, developed by ISAE-SUPAERO, draws on the expertise and feedback gained during the EyeSat (CNES), Entrysat (ISAE-SUPAERO – ONERA) and NIMPH (ISAE-SUPAERO,TAS, CNRS / LAAS) projects. It will be derived from the platform under development (MONITA) for the NIMPH project. The design / realization differential will remain limited, especially since the radiation monitor does not require precise attitude control. The risks are therefore low and the feasibility of the platform validated.

Beyond the framework of the CREME project, it is envisaged that the collected flight measurements will be exploited at the CSUT, thus enhancing the space domain with the students. They will also validate the concept of the detector in orbit and obtain new measures to enrich space weather monitoring services.

One of the prospects for such a project will be to offer space industry companies a low-cost, low-profile and small mass radiation monitor that is very versatile so that it can be easily integrated on commercial satellites. The idea behind this is to be able to eventually have a sensor that can accommodate the measured species (protons or electrons) and the measured energy range (between 1 and 100 MeV for protons, 100 keV to 4 MeV for electrons). Thus, in the future, a constellation of such detectors would make it possible to measure the spatial environment as a whole, and to characterize orbits hitherto poorly described from the radiative point of view.