A Balanced Plan for Spacecraft Radiation Protection


A. Chugg (2000), JBIS53, 82-88

Refcode: 2000.53.82

The problem of defining a plan for protecting sophisticated electronic systems in severe space radiation environments is difficult and complex. It is important that the solution should be driven by an appropriate balance between the magnitude of the threat and the cost of its mitigation. Furthermore, there is a balance to be decided between the costs of modelling to refine our understanding of the precise ways in which the environment threatens the system and the alternative costs of the comprehensive application of protection measures, which may actually be unnecessary or excessive in many areas. Finally, a balance needs to be achieved in the choices between alternative protection methodologies in order to maximise the cost-effectiveness of the solution. If any of these balances is not achieved with reasonable accuracy, then the spacecraft may be rendered either unacceptably unreliable or uncompetitively costly. In this paper these balances will be discussed in terms of the specifics of spacecraft radiation protection and an overall approach will be defined, which should ensure that the requisite decisions and compromises are made on the most appropriate and informed basis.