Orbital Radiation Environments

Authored by: Michael Xapsos , Janet Barth

Extreme Environment Electronics

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439874301
eBook ISBN: 9781439874318
Adobe ISBN:


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There are a number of environmental hazards that spacecraft must be designed for, which include low-energy plasma, particle radiation, neutral gas particles, ultraviolet and x-ray radiation, micrometeoroids, and orbital debris. This chapter is focused on hazards present for devices and integrated circuits in the near-earth orbital radiation environment. Hence it is mainly concerned with three categories of high-energy particle radiations in space. The first is the comparatively low-level flux of ions that originate outside of our solar system called galactic cosmic rays (GCR). The second is bursts of radiation emitted by the sun, characterized by high fluxes of protons and heavy ions, and referred to as solar particle events. The third is particles trapped by the earth’s magnetic field, also known as the van Allen Belts.

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