Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Photonics has lift-off: French astronaut uses fibre-optic dosimeter to measure cosmic radiation

Thomas Pesquet is measuring cosmic radiation doses in the International Space Station with a fibre-optic dosimeter developed by Laboratoire Hubert Curien, CERN and iXblue.

Photonics is making news in space as French astronaut Thomas Pesquet is preparing to use a fibre-optic dosimeter developed in partnership with optics research unit Laboratoire Hubert Curien, CERN and iXBlue that measures doses of cosmic radiation aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

CNES has called upon Brittany-based iXblue Photonics for their expertise in complex photonics sensors to develop a dosimeter – a tool measuring radiation exposure – with two radio-sensitive optical fibre coils, measuring several kilometres, at its heart. Called Lumina, the dosimeter is one of the few selected experiments of Thomas Pesquet's Alpha Mission aboard the ISS.

iXblue Photonics issued congratulations on LinkedIn: "Measuring radiation is a strategic issue for future farther space exploration and travel to ensure astronauts and equipment safety. Congratulations to the project team!"

Launching from Florida on 24th April for the Alpha Mission, the French astronaut flew on the SpaceX Dragon module with NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough and Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide.

With over 240 staff, Laboratoire Hubert Curien is the most crucial research structures of Saint-Etienne, dealing with "Optics, photonics and microwave and computer science, telecom and image". The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) operates the world's largest particle physics laboratory in the world. iXblue is a global high-tech company specializing in designing and manufacturing advanced autonomous, marine and photonics technologies.


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