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Radiation belts

Space radiations

The EPT instrument measures the fluxes in the Earth's radiation belts. These belts are toroidal regions encircling the Earth, in which very energetic particles are found.

These particles are essentially trapped in the geomagnetic field. One can consider these particles to be a form of ionising radiation. These particles constitute a real danger for humans and for spacecraft in orbit around the Earth.




The Van Allen belts were named after the American physicist James Alfred Van Allen who discovered them with a Geiger counter onboard Explorer 1, the first American satellite, in 1958.

Static empirical models
Static empirical models based on average observations from 20 satellites. Large spatial and energy coverage. 


Using other spacecraft on other orbits, the instrument can also measure other space particle fluxes like the solar wind for instance, emitted by the Sun in all directions to the interplanetary space.

Radiation Belts or Van Allen Belts, energetic particles encircling the Earth


Implications for Space travel


  • Satellites failures (internal charging)
    (MeV electrons)
  • Electronic problems, integrated circuits, parasite signals, discharges… (surface charging)
    (0.1-100 keV electrons)
  • Single Event Upset (micro-electronic devices, semiconductor memory, transistors, microprocessors, solar cells, sensors…)
    (MeV ions)
  • Radiation sickness (astronauts limite dose: 1 sievert) shielding


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