Radiation Testing of Electric Components for Space

The apparent void of space is actually awash in high-energy particle radiation, which can have harmful effects on delicate satellite components. The threat to spacecraft varies greatly based on their orbits. Ali Zadeh, head of ESA's Components Space Evaluation and Radiation Effects section, explains how electrical, electronic, and electro-mechanical (EEE) components - the fundamental building blocks of any space mission - are tested for this harsh environment, assessing their suitability for space. The European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC) in the Netherlands hosts a Cobalt-60 irradiation facility for highly-penetrating gamma ray testing, supplemented by a network of external European particle accelerator sites for electron, proton, and heavy-ion radiation testing.