Tyndall National Institute develop radiation monitor for International Space Station

A radiation detector partly developed by researchers at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork is to be permanently fitted onto the International Space Station (ISS) later this year.

Unlike previous detectors, which have only revealed how much exposure astronauts may have received after their return to earth, the new system can measure radiation in real time, thereby instantly warning astronauts if they have reached dangerous levels.


The new detector has been developed as part of a European Space Agency-sponsored collaborative project that includes contributions from researchers at Tyndall, the German Aerospace Centre, RADOS/Mirion of Finland,Seibersdorf Laboratories of Austria, and PTB of Germany.

The device, a personal radiation dosimeter system, is made up of two parts: a phone-sized Mobile Unit, worn in a pouch on the astronaut’s body, and a Personal Storage Device, which is a docking station to recharge the Mobile Unit, download data and transmit it back to Earth. The Mobile Unit part of the device has recently returned from testing on the ISS, and in a world-first event, it actively monitored radiation during its launch into space on board the Soyuz spacecraft. The system was developed as a result of the EuCPAD (European Crew Personal Active Dosimeters) project, and the “active” part of the name is crucial, as the innovative aspect of the device is its active, real-time monitoring of radiation levels.

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