Since 1992, CNES has developed several flight experiments intended to measure the space radiative environment and the effect of radiations on electronic components. Some of them flew on the MIR space station, the International Space Station (ISS) and have worked successfully on board the SAC-C Argentinian satellite since November 2001.
In the continuation of these flight experiments, CARMEN (ChARacterization and Modelling of the ENvironment) is an instrument concept based on a set of modules dedicated to the measurement of the space environment (orbital debris, high and low energy particles, etc.), to be tailored according to the mission needs and constraints, and with an architecture articulated around a principal instrument able to interface the various modules.
Existing modules and their development status:
- ICARE-NG is a new generation of the ICARE instrument which flew on the MIR space station, the International Space Station (ISS) and has worked successfully on board the SAC-C Argentinian satellite since November 2001. It will be aboard SAC-D and JASON-2 satellites which will be respectively launched in 2008 and 2010. It is manufactured by the EREMS company.
- SODAD is an instrument dedicated to the study of micro-meteoroids and orbital debris in the space environment, monitoring in time and in space the resulting effects. It is manufactured by the STEEL company.
- AMBRE is an analyzer (under CESR development) which will be used to measure low energy fluxes of electrons and protons in order to determine the satellite potential and to correlate the anomalies due to the electrostatic discharges (ESD).