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Proceedings Paper

An historical fluence analysis of the radiation environment of the Chandra X-ray Observatory and implications for continued radiation monitoring
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Paper Abstract

Now in operation for over 6 years, the Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO) has sampled a variety of space environments. Its highly elliptical orbit, with a 63.5 hr period, regularly takes the spacecraft through the Earth's radiation belts, the magnetosphere, the magnetosheath and into the solar wind. Additionally, the CXO has weathered several severe solar storms during its time in orbit. Given the vulnerability of Chandra's Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs) to radiation damage from low energy protons, proper radiation management has been a prime concern of the Chandra team. A comprehensive approach utilizing scheduled radiation safing, in addition to both on-board autonomous radiation monitoring and manual intervention, has proved successful at managing further radiation damage. However, the future of autonomous radiation monitoring on-board the CXO faces a new challenge as the multi-layer insulation (MLI) on its radiation monitor, the Electron, Proton, Helium Instrument (EPHIN), continues to degrade, leading to elevated temperatures. Operating at higher temperatures, the data from some EPHIN channels can become noisy and unreliable for radiation monitoring. This paper explores the full implication of the loss of EPHIN to CXO radiation monitoring by evaluating the fluences the CXO experienced during 40 autonomous radiation safing events from 2000 through 2005 in various hypothetical scenarios which include the use of EPHIN in limited to no capacity as a radiation monitor. We also consider the possibility of replacing EPHIN with Chandra's High Resolution Camera (HRC) for radiation monitoring.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 June 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6270, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems, 62701J (30 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.672233
Show Author Affiliations
J. M. DePasquale, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
P. P. Plucinsky, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
D. A. Schwartz, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6270:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems
David R. Silva; Rodger E. Doxsey, Editor(s)

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