NASA’s SET mission will characterise the near-Earth space environment and how it could affect satellite instruments. Image credit: NASA
Ready, SET, go – NASA’s Space Environment Testbeds, or SET, will launch in June 2019 on its mission to study how to better protect satellites in space. SET will get a ride to space on a U.S. Air Force Research Lab spacecraft aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United States.
SET studies the very nature of space itself – which isn’t completely empty, but brimming with radiation – and how it affects spacecraft and electronics in orbit. Energetic particles from the Sun or deep space can spark memory damage or computer upsets on spacecraft, and over time, degrade hardware. SET seeks to better understand these effects in order to improve spacecraft design, engineering, and operations, and avoid future anomalies. Spacecraft protection is a key part of NASA’s mission as the agency’s Artemis program seeks to explore the Moon and beyond.
“Since space radiation is one of the primary hazards space missions encounter, researching ways to improve their abilities to survive in these harsh environments will increase the survivability of near-Earth missions as well ...