August 16, 2016



CARMEN (ChARacterization and Modeling of ENvironment) is an instrument concept architecture dedicated to space environment measurement: orbital debris, high and low energy particles, etc.

This architecture is articulated around a principal instrument, ICARE-NG, which acts as an interface with the satellite and measures the space radiation environment and its effects on electronics.

Compared with the previous generation (ICARE), the instrument benefits from the following improvements:

  • Reduced dimensions,
  • Improved measurements and larger Energy Range,
  • Possibility of external module interfacing,
  • Telemetry Compression of a factor 4.


The ICARE-NG instrument is composed of a data acquisition unit (SPECTRE) for the set of three radiation detectors and for the component test bed (EXPERIENCE Module or MEX). The ICARE-NG instrument is able to interface various modules providing associated power demand and telemetry/telecommand interface.


CARMEN functional description

High Energy Spectrometer

The radiation detectors are made of silicon fully depleted solid state detectors used in single and coincident mode. The SPECTRE unit performs the radiation spectra measurement on various energy ranges. The on-board measurements consist in accumulating energy loss spectra in the junctions over a programmable accumulation period.

The reference levels of the discriminators, the gain of the amplifiers and the accumulation time are programmable and provide a possible on-board tuning optimization The reference values are preset before launch.

In addition to the on-board acquisition, the SPECTRE unit carries out the functions of power distribution and communication interface via a 1553 bus. It also includes an interface to control one or more external instruments. In the case of the CARMEN-2 mission, this capability is not used.

Among the additional sensors carried by CARMEN missions, there are:

  • a SODAD micro-debris and micro-meteorites detector on CARMEN-1,
  • an AMBRE sensor, detecting ions and electrons in charge of electrostatic discharge phenomena, on CARMEN-3.

Radiation Effect Monitoring

The objective of the EXPERIENCE module (MEX) is to measure the flight event rates and the parametric drifts of an advanced electronic component set. This module is slave of the SPECTRE unit of which it depends for power and data exchanges.

Acknowledgment to D. Peyre, C. Binois and R. Mangeret from EADS-ASTRIUM, M. Melotte, P. Calvel and R. Marec from THALES ALENIA SPACE, T. Dargnies and P. Wang from 3D-Plus, M. GLASER from CERN, P. Eng from IAS Paris-Sud, G. Sarrabayrousse from CNRS-LAAS, A. Canals, A. Samaras and N. Chatry from TRAD, P. Garcia, C. Deneau, J.-R. Vaillé and L. Dusseau from IES of Montpellier II University, D. Boscher, S. Bourdarie, D. Falguère and D. Lazaro from DESP/ONERA, N. Poiraudeau, S. Pliskin, P. Bourdoux and T. Baldran from EREMS and finally J. Bertrand and F. Malou from CNES for their contribution to this project.