The Lumina dosimeter up and running onboard the ISS!

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Lumina, the first fiber-optic dosimeter designed to measure radiations level on board the International Space Station has been installed by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet this week in the Columbus lab of the station. The first data have already been sent back to earth for analysis.  


Developed by iXblue and Laboratoire Hubert Curien for the CNES and with the contribution of CERN as part of the Alpha mission, the device, based on 2 fiber-optic coils several kilometres long, was designed to measure with high-precision the radiation exposure, a critical challenge to ensure astronauts and equipment’s safety in space.  iXblue strong expertise in radio-sensitive fibers and in radiation-hardened electronics for space was key to the development of Lumina.


Lumina installed in the ISS


Pierrick Cheiney, Project Manager at iXblue explains “the optical fibers have been designed, manufactured and integrated by our teams in Lannion and Saint-Germain-en-Laye. For 20 years, we have been developing radiation-hardened optical fibers for Fiber-Optics Gyroscopes and telecommunications that suffer very low losses under irradiation (iXblue Fiber-Optic Gyroscopes are onboard over 40 satellites). On the opposite, the fibers in Lumina are doped with Phosphorus to make them particularly sensitive to ionizing radiation, making it possible to measure very low levels of irradiation by measuring the optical absorption in the fiber coil.”


Installed in 30 minutes in the ISS by French Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, the dosimeter is now up and running and, within a day, a first batch of data has already been transmitted to the CNES for analysis. The first measurements are in line with what the engineers expected. The dosimeter will stay in the ISS for several years and data sent back regularly to earth for analysis, enabling long-term monitoring of the ionizing radiation exposure.

More info about the experience (in French) :