Radiation Hardness Assurance

Standards for Space Radiation Hardness Assurance and Testing

Indranil Chatterjee
Airbus Defence and Space, Germany


The space radiation environment consists of a variety of energetic particles with energies varying from keV to GeV. This leads to extremely harsh operating conditions for on-board electronics and systems on satellites and interplanetary probes. The characteristics of the radiation environment are highly dependent on the type of mission (date, duration and orbit).

Space system providers require a holistic approach, from the device level to the system level to ensure functionality and performance of the electronics during the mission lifetime. A rigorous methodology, called Hardness Assurance, is needed to ensure this.

It consists of those activities undertaken to ensure that the semiconductor devices used in the satellites perform to their design specifications after exposure to the space environment. It deals with system requirements, environmental definitions, component selection and testing, shielding and radiation tolerant design. Interplay of all these factors determines the viability of electronics in space.

The presentation will address various topics in radiation modelling, testing, and electronic design and discuss on the changes ahead as we incorporate advanced technology nodes and new design paradigms in the space industry.