C3D – an imaging radiation damage experiment on UKUBE-1

Holland, Andrew; Burgon, Ross; Harriss, Richard and Holland, Karen (2014). C3D – an imaging radiation damage experiment on UKUBE-1. In: 4S Symposium 2014, 26-30 May 2014, Porto Petro, Majorca, Spain.


The Open University, in collaboration with e2v technologies Ltd and XCAM Ltd, have been selected to fly an experimental payload on board the UK Space Agency's UKube-1 pilot Cubesat programme. Cubesat payloads offer a unique opportunity to rapidly build and fly space hardware for minimal cost, providing easy access to the space environment. The proposed payload incorporated new imaging technology using a CMOS image sensor into a combined Earth Observation (EO) technology demonstrator and in-orbit radiation damage characterisation instrument, to help raise the TRL of the sensor technology. Based around the e2v 1.3 MPixel 0.18 micron process “eye-on-Si” CMOS devices, the instrument consists of 3 distinct image sensors; one devoted to radiation damage monitoring (RDM), as well as a narrow field imager (NFI) and a wide field imager (WFI). The narrow and wide field imagers are expected to achieve resolutions of 25 m and 350 m respectively from a 650 km orbit, providing sufficient swathe widths of 30 and 450 km respectively. The radiation damage experiment has been designed to verify and reinforce ground based testing that has been conducted on the e2v eye-on-Si family of devices and includes a TEC for temperature control as well as RADFETs for in-orbit dosimetry. Of particular interest are Single Event Effects (SEEs); Single Event Upset (SEU) and Single Event Latchup (SEL) effects etc. and the experiment contains operating modes to evaluate these during SAA passage. The novel instrument design allows for a wide range of capabilities the within highly constrained mass (170g), power (1W) and space budgets providing a model for future use on similarly constrained missions, such as planetary rovers. Scheduled for launch in June 2014, this project should not only provide valuable data helping to raise the TRL of the technology to prove flight heritage for future missions, but also provide outreach opportunities demonstrating the capabilities of such payloads.

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