Radiation hardening is a critical engineering practice employed in the design and construction of satellites to protect them from the harsh radiation encountered in the space environment. Space is filled with high-energy particles, such as cosmic rays and solar particles, which can pose significant challenges to the operation and longevity of satellite systems.
The process of Radiation Hardening involves several strategies and technologies aimed at fortifying the satellite’s components and systems against the deleterious effects of radiation. One primary concern is the potential damage caused by ionising radiation, which can result in single-event effects (SEEs) and total dose effects (TDEs). SEEs occur when radiation strikes and alters the state of electronic components, leading to transient errors or malfunctions. TDEs, on the other hand, are caused by cumulative exposure to radiation over time, gradually degrading the performance of electronic components.
To mitigate these effects, specialised Radiation-Hardened components and materials are used. Radiation-Hardened microelectronics are designed to be more resilient to ionising radiation, reducing the risk of SEEs and TDEs. These components often incorporate redundant circuits and error correction mechanisms to enhance their reliability in a radiation-rich environment.
Furthermore, shielding is employed to protect critical electronic components from direct radiation exposure. The satellite’s structure and housing are designed to act as a barrier against radiation, preventing it from reaching sensitive areas. Additionally, certain types of materials are selected for their radiation-resistant properties, ensuring that they do not degrade or become compromised under the influence of radiation.