The OSU Provided, SET Produced Radiation Detector (OPSRAD) will demonstrate an innovative, low-cost, low size/weight/power, mass producible, multi-application, active radiation sensor useful for monitoring the real-time radiation environment from the atmosphere, through low Earth orbit, and into deep space. The standardized datatype will be ideal for operational systems and will be the next generation workhorse for providing total ionizing dose (TID) and energy deposition spectra. The latter is the LET of ionizing charged particles, including energetic protons, muons, electrons and positrons, as well as gamma-ray photons. The system will be sensitive to neutrons by creating neutron-induced energetic secondary protons produced in a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) layer by neutron–proton reactions. OPSRAD Phase I will provide a prototype: i) detector to demonstrate our approach of measuring energy deposition and TID; ii) system to demonstrate modularity in microprocessor, data storage, and communications features; and iii) design strategy to integrate these capabilities into a single module for operational use. The objectives of this proposal are aligned with NASA technologies, including the Moon to Mars initiative. This proposal supports NASA’s Moon to Mars mission by identifying and filling critical gaps in improving scientific discoveries related to the poorly sampled radiation environment in time, space, and energy ranges. It provides a pathway for an order of magnitude reduction in cost; iii) halving the size, weight and power compared to existing state-of-the-art; iv) doubling the speed for operational implementation; and v) retaining a comparable ability for continuous temporal and spatial monitoring. This instrument can help send humans safely to the Moon and OPSRAD would be a perfect instrument for use in the Gateway Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) as well as in a lunar surface outpost or at remote site locations.
OPSRAD supports Space Weather Research-to-Operations/Operations-to-Research (R2O/O2R) Technology Development by providing real-time, operational, low-cost radiation exposure data. NASA desires to specify and/or forecast the energetic particle and plasma conditions encountered by spacecraft in low Earth orbit, within the magnetosphere, and enroute to as well as at the Moon. OPSRAD will provide those measurements servicing these interests and generate products that support tools for identifying spacecraft anomalies and human tissue exposure.
OPSRAD can be use in commercial suborbital and orbital space systems vehicles, as well as in commercial aviation. All these require radiation exposure information to satisfy system performance and due diligence requirements. SET is already providing some commercial services to these industries and OPSRAD will improve quality and reduce costs for end users.