The EPT (Energetic Particle Telescope) instrument has been developed to measure the high-energy particle fluxes with very good energy, angular and mass resolutions and so contribute to space weather.
Learning more about the ever-changing radiation environment is important to satellite operators as well as scientifically interesting. These particles are hazardous for satellites –radiation is one of the main causes of onboard anomalies and malfunctions – and potentially harmful to astronauts.
The design of this instrument results from a fruitful collaboration between BIRA-IASB (Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy) and UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain-La-Neuve). The space physics team at BIRA-IASB develops models for the solar wind and radiation belts using observations made by detectors onboard spacecraft, the nuclear physics team of UCL builds and uses such detectors for different purposes. That is why it was decided to put this experience in common and share the resources to design, build and realize this EPT.
A research center called the Center for Space Radiations (CSR) was created in UCL in 2003 with co-direction by BIRA-IASB and UCL. A consortium was developed between UCL, BIRA-IASB and Qinetiq Space to create the instrument with the support of ESA (European Space Agency) and Belspo (Belgian Science Policy Office).
The CSR team coordinated the EPT project for the design of the instrument. BIRA-IASB took care of the mechanical aspects with its engineering team. BIRA-IASB ensures also the scientific aspects with its space physics team and the data transmission and operational services with the BUSOC team and the control center in Redu. The Qinetiq Space private company took care of the electronics of the instrument, its project management and the integration on the PROBA-V satellite.