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CERN and ESA forge closer ties through cooperation protocol

A hybrid image of the LHC and space
(Image: CERN)

A new collaboration agreement between CERN and ESA, signed on 11 July, will address the challenge of operating in harsh radiation environments, which are found in both particle-physics facilities and outer space. The agreement concerns radiation environments, technologies and facilities with potential applications in both space systems and particle-physics experiments or accelerators.

This first implementing protocol of CERN-ESA bilateral cooperation covers a broad range of activities, from general aspects such as coordination, financing and personnel exchange, to a list of irradiation facilities for joint R&D activities. It also states the willingness of both organisations to support PhD students working on radiation subjects of common interest.

Protocol Office,technology,engineering,Quality,ESTEC,ESA
Franco Ongaro, Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality and Head of ESTEC, European Space Agency (left) with Eckhard Elsen, CERN Director for Research and Computing (Image: Julien Ordan/CERN)

The agreement identifies seven specific high-priority projects: high-energy electron tests; high-penetration heavy-ion tests; assessment of EEE commercial components and modules (COTS); in-orbit technology demonstration; “radiation-hard” and “radiation-tolerant” components and modules; radiation detectors, monitors and dosimeters; and simulation tools for radiation effects.

In some cases, important preliminary results have already been achieved: high-energy electron tests for the JUICE mission were performed in the CLEAR/VESPER facility to simulate the environment of Jupiter. Complex components were also tested with xenon and lead ions in the SPS North Area at CERN for an in-depth analysis of galactic cosmic-ray effects. These activities will continue and the newly identified ones will be implemented under the coordination of the CERN-ESA Committee on Radiation Issues.