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Air Force searches for companies able to build satellite sensors to monitor space radiation

Posted by John Keller

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., 21 June 2013. U.S. Air Force space experts are reaching out to industry to find companies able to design small space sensor pods for commercial and government satellites that are able to measure space radiation in Earth orbits that can interfere with communications, damage spacecraft, and affect human health.

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), Development Planning (XR) and Weather Systems (WM) Directorates, at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., has issued a special notice (13-82) to assess industry's ability to build micro-dosimeter pods for use on satellites.

A micro-dosimeter pod includes a solid state micro-dosimeter sensor designed to measure the total dose of energetic particles impacting a silicon detector target, plus associated hardware, Air Force officials say.

The micro-dosimeters will measure energetic particle radiation in low-earth orbit (LEO). This effort seeks to have industry supply micro-dosimeters pods based on an Aerospace Corp. design using a build-to-print approach.

The Aerospace Corp. design uses one printed circuit board assembly in a solid aluminum chassis. The assembly two Teledyne µDOS-001 dosimeter hybrids for the core detection capability, a field-programmable gate-array (FPGA), and support electronics to interface with a satellite host.

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Ultimately, the Air Force wants to buy 77 micro-dosimeter pods -- eight for delivery in January 2014, 10 for delivery in April 2014, and the rest for delivery throughout the remainder of 2014.

The micro-dosimeter sensors should be able to measure radiation as strong as 40 kilorads, measure 4.8 by 3.6 by 0.84 inches, weigh no more than 591 grams, and consume one Watt of power from a combination of 15- and 5-volt power supplied by the host spacecraft.

Companies interested should email white papers no later than 25 June 2013 to the Air Force's Shelby Sommer at

For questions or concerns contact Shelby Sommer by phone at 310-653-9650 or by email at, or Julia Hansen by phone at 310-653-9107 or by email at

More information is online at

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