Severe Space Weather Satellite Protection

Modern space electronics used for military space communications are susceptible to geomagnetic storms of highly energized charged particles such as electrons and protons. There is a need for advanced protection methods that can help minimize the impact to space electronics caused by current surges during these severe solar storms. Although optical monitoring of the sun can predict the onset of severe space weather conditions, determining the details of the conditions often requires on-board satellite sensors. Knowledge of the dose, dose rate and the specific radiation type can allow for a better assessment and mitigation of particular radiation damage effects observed for on-board electronics.

RMD is developing a small, lightweight, low powered, scintillator-SSPM based radiation detector. This detector can provide particle discrimination and is an ideal replacement of current on-board sensors for the next generation of small, compact satellites. The solution involves coupling Diphenylanthracene (DPA), with a solid-state photomultiplier (SSPM) photodetector to detect or discriminate fast electrons from protons and provide dose and dose rate information characteristic of solar events over a wide range of energies. DPA has demonstrated the ability to provide large light yields which result in a large signal to noise ratio, excellent electron-proton discrimination, and exhibit radiation hardness up to at least 100 krad from protons.