An Hungarian instrument is entrusted with an important task at the space station around the Moon

Sandra Loyd

In the mid-2020s, a space station will be built in orbit around the Moon under the name of the Gateway. Following the decision of the European Space Agency (ESA), the TRITEL dosimeter developed in the Space Research Laboratory of the Energy Research Center (EC) of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH) will be an element of the space station’s internal radiation measurement system (IDA)

they will be exposed to radiation 250 times a year on board the space station as on the Earth’s surface, so radiation dose measurement is of paramount importance for their health. IDA will measure the dose and characteristics of ionizing radiation passing through and generated in the space station’s residential and logistics module (HALO) as a function of time.

The radiation monitoring system (ERSA) on the external platform of the Gateway

In addition, ESA has invited the Energy Research Center to develop, through a call for proposals, the development of an energy science research center to develop effective data protection against the use of space radiation by space walls. (ID)

This will be the (interface) unit through which the detectors of the IDA system are connected to the power supply and communication system of the space station. The prototype of the IDA central unit and the TRITEL dose measurement system will be manufactured by the space company REMRED Ltd., established by the EC.

The Gateway will be a third to a quarter the size of the International Space Station orbiting the Earth for more than twenty years. (ISS) and will not be permanently inhabited, however, it will play an important role in further human missions landing on the surface of the Moon. The space station, designed for nearly 40 tons, will orbit the closest to the Moon for 3,000 kilometers and the farthest for 70,000 kilometers.

Experts intend to use the experience gained around the Moon in future missions on Mars.

Hungary has more than 40 years of experience in the study of astronauts’ exposure to space. At the Energy Science Research Center (formerly KFKI and MTA KFKI AEKI), a number of active and non-powered, so-called passive dose measurement systems were developed, with which measurements were made on board human spacecraft and artificial moons. It was forty years ago that the first Hungarian-developed dose measuring instrument, Pille, went into space, with which astronaut Bertalan Farkas made measurements aboard the Saljut-6 space station.

In the framework of US, ESA and Russian collaborations, the system its various versions have since boarded a number of spacecraft. The latest version of the Pille, as part of the Russian segment’s service system, has been operating continuously and reliably on board the ISS since 2003. Another Pillar was last launched on the ISS in June 2018.

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