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Radiation research on ISS

Sojuz lifts off to the International Space Station: Radiation research onboard ISS with Czech involvement starts

Prague, December 21st 2011 – Today at 14:16 CET Sojuz TMA-03M lifted off from the Russian cosmodrom Bajkonur to the international Space Station with the flight engineer, Andre Kuipers onboard. His and the whole crew’s main task will be to perform a set of scientific experiments. Also a new experiment DOSIS-3D will be initiated, with the main goal to measure radiation dose onboard the ISS. Such research is very significant from the point of view of further stay of human crews in space and the Czech scientists are actively involved in it.

DOSIS-3D is a joint project of ESA and other partners involved in International Space Station (ISS) utilization. The main goal of the project is to precisely assess the distribution of radiation doses among various modules of the ISS by use of active and passive dosimeters. The practical use of results of the projects explains Michal Vaclavik, head of Human spaceflight department of the Czech Space Office: “Based on measured data, there are plans to build an interactive database, which would store all important information for the radiation protection measures for the crew and also data for various radiation sensitive experiments.” The research is expected to last 2 to 3 years and 4 to 6 long-term crews of ISS are going to contribute accordingly.

The first crew, which initiates the experiment is going to be formed on December 23rd, when Sojuz TMA-03M is going to join the ISS. The crew is formed by 3 cosmonauts – commander Oleg Konenko (Russia), mission engineer Donald Pettit (USA) and the mission engineer Andre Kuipers (ESA, Holland). These three will join the current crew of the ISS and together will form the 30th long-term crew of the ISS.

Czech participation in the project

The participant is the Nuclear Physics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. The scientists developed for the DOSIS-3D experiment two types of passive dosimeters and they are going to contribute to the final analysis of absorbed doses of the radiation.

According to Michal Vaclavik, the successful part of the project DOSIS-3D could be promising for collaboration of other Czech workplaces with ESA: “DOSIS-3D experiment actually follows another and already finished experiment DOSIS/DOBIES, which had also Czech contribution. The fact that our research workplaces are capable to continually contribute to such complex international projects, shows the quality of the capabilities of Czech researchers. I suppose, that especially in the area of dosimetry, the Czech Republic did not say its last word.”

The history of a Czech contribution

The involvement of Czech workplaces into space programs has always been preceded by a long-term effort. In this case the CSO initiated a meeting with the director of Human Spaceflight and Microgravity, her team and potential cooperating workplaces interested in participation in research projects in the area of Microgravity. In 2009 ESA announced three calls for project proposals for the further use of the ISS. The Czech Space Office subsequently contacted relevant Czech workplaces and in case of their interest, supported the preparation of the project proposal.”I suppose that our know how in the field of collaboration with ESA and long term experience has significantly supported many Czech organizations to join successfully ESA space programs. The participation in these programs brings Czech republic not only top-level research and development, but also the international prestige,” says about space projects Jan Kolar, the director of the Czech Space Office.