Ion rates in the International Space Station during the December 2006 Solar Particle Event
Larosa, M ; Agostini, F ; Casolino, M ; et al. ; - ASI Sponsor
Sep - 2011
DOI: 10.1088/0954-3899/38/9/095102
ISSN : 0954-3899 ;
journal : Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics

Volume : 38 ; Issue : 9
type: Article Journal

Solar Particle Events (SPEs) are a major concern during prolonged space missions. During such events, a large amount of light ions, mostly protons and helium nuclei, are accelerated with enough energy to traverse the spacecraft hull and therefore represent a high hazard for the crews' health. The ALTEA particle telescope was collecting continuous data inside the USLab module of the International Space Station (ISS) during most of the December 2006 SPEs. The telescope is able to measure protons and helium respectively in the 42–45 MeV and 42–250 MeV/nucleon energy ranges, heavier ions up to relativistic molybdenum, and to discriminate nuclei for Z ≥ 5. First measurements of the charged radiation environment inside the USLab during a SPE are presented. The data averaged over the entire SPE week show an increase of the light ion rate (about a factor 1.5 in the energy range of the detector) when compared to quiet Sun conditions. The increase becomes much higher during the SPE climax (13 December) reaching a factor 10 (when averaged over three ISS orbits showing the highest activity). The extension of these results beyond the detector range is discussed. Conversely, the rates of ions with Z ≥ 5 are shown not to change significantly during the SPE week.

keywords : ALTEA