Radiation Environment and its effects in EEE components and hardness assurance for space applications. CERN - ESA - SSC WORKSHOP

Grégoire Bourban (EPFL)

Space Radiation

The harsh space environment is pervaded with high energy particle radiation that affects electrical, electronic and electromechanical (EEE) components employed on board spacecrafts. The radiation effects observed may be in the form of minor component parameter degradation or in some cases catastrophic failure possibly resulting in a spacecraft system breakdown. The understanding of the interaction between the natural space radiation environment, the spacecraft shielding, spacecraft systems and EEE components including knowledge of corresponding tools employed is necessary to ensure successful space missions. The role of a radiation effects engineer encompasses multi-disciplinary fields with focus on subjects such as radiological physics and solid-state physics.

Technical objective

The objective of this course is to give the audience an overview of the natural space radiation environment, the effects of this environment on EEE components, how component sensitivity to the environment is characterised (e.g. via testing) and the Radiation Hardness Assurance processes.

Course description

The course begins by exploring the harsh and dynamic natural space radiation environment and investigates its central role in space project activities and highlights the engineering procedures to achieve the defined mission goals.

The course naturally evolves into defining and describing the three major radiation effect types (Total Ionising Dose (TID), Displacement Damage (DD) and Single Event Effect (SEE)). Their influence predominantly on EEE components is investigated with an overview of corresponding basic mechanisms.

The approach and procedures employed to identify EEE component sensitivity to radiation effects via testing are subsequently examined. The simplified methods used in ground irradiation testing to mimic the complex space radiation environment are explored. Radiation related units are defined and an overview of tools employed provided. The final part of the course defines Radiation Hardness Assurance (RHA) and provides an overview of the RHA process. Subsequently, the RHA procedures are discussed and programmatic aspects (including RHA in typical project organisation and in project life cycle, etc.) reviewed.

CERN experts on radiations will give an overview of the characterisation and the use of COTS components within their facilities. A tour of CERN radiation facilities will conclude this two-day programme.

Target audience

The course is aimed at project managers, space system engineers, component engineers and in general engineers active in the space sector.


The course will be given by experienced ESA and CERN engineers active in space radiation for many years.

Date and venue

The course is scheduled on 9-10 May 2017, and will take place at CERN, Geneva (the exact room will be communicated later).

Registration and payment

Deadline was 27/04/2017


The course will be given in English.

Contact and information

Grégoire Bourban

Swiss Space Center

Tel.: +41 (0) 21 693 66 65

Email: gregoire.bourban@epfl.ch