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UNH to Develop Instrument Concept Design for NASA Crew Exploration Vehicle
By David Sims
EOS Science Writer

March 25, 2009

DURHAM, N.H. -- Scientists from the UNH Space Science Center have teamed up with Aurora Flight Sciences of Cambridge, MA to develop a compact charged particle spectrometer for use in manned space vehicles.

The proposed instrument leverages innovative angle-detecting inclined sensor (ADIS) technology initially developed by SSC scientist James Connell and colleagues for use in unmanned, scientific missions.

An ADIS-type instrument will be studied for use in NASA's new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). It would be capable of identifying and quantifying charged particles hazardous to astronauts in space.

Using the technique, the type and intensity of particles, such as protons and heavy ions, can be measured to provide a more accurate indication of the radiation dosage encountered by the crew.

"The particles we measure are of interest because not only can they go through a spacecraft and damage electronics but can also go through spacesuits and irradiate astronauts," says Connell.

The collaborative project stems from a NASA Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I contract recently awarded to Aurora. Phase I will involve a concept design study of an ADIS instrument to meet the stringent mass, volume and safety requirements of the CEV.

UNH space scientists are currently building an ADIS-based instrument for the unmanned Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) Program. To learn more of the GOES-R mission, see http://www.eos.unh.edu/news/indiv_news.shtml?NEWS_ID=882.

Aurora Flight Sciences designs and builds robotic aircraft and other advanced aerospace vehicles for scientific and military applications. Aurora is headquartered in Manassas, VA and operates production plants in Bridgeport, WV and Columbus, MS and a Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA. To view recent press releases and learn more about Aurora visit http://www.aurora.aero.