A step forward in Turkey’s Space Technologies with European Center of Nuclear Research (CERN) Partnership
Installment of a space radiation testing laboratory (METU-DBL) was commenced by the Middle East Technical University (METU) Physics Department, under the leadership of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bilge Demirköz.
In August 2015, METU DBL was granted 5.5 million TL support from Ministry of Development, within the scope of Earth Observation Satellites Development Project (İMECE).
With Ministry of Development’s grant, by using the Proton Accelerating Facility of the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority’s (TAEA), Sarayköy Nuclear Education and Research Center (SANAEM), a new beamline will be designed and implemented. With this beamline, Turkey will have infrastructure to perform space radiation tests.
In the target area, the proton beam will comply with the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Single Event Effect Standards (ESA-SCC 25100) to ensure high quality space radiation tests.
During the project, with the support of CERN some innovative beamline design and magnet technologies will also be transferred to our country. With this project, tolerance of electronics developed in our country to space radiation environment will be determined and their quality will be certified. Therefore Turkey’s foreign dependency in space projects and loss of foreign currency will be reduced.
At the end of 2.5 year project, space radiation tests for solar cells developed by TÜBİTAK MAM Materials Institute and batteries developed by TÜBİTAK MAM Energy Institute for the IMECE Project will be performed. Radiation tolerance tests for any other electronic circuit developed by our country could also be performed. Theoretical work for developing radiation dosimeters will also be performed.
Project leader Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bilge Demirköz said: “4 years before when I returned to Turkey, we became a member of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) experiment, which is developed by CERN collaboration, at the International Space Station (ISS). By measuring high energy cosmic rays in the space, we searched for dark matter evidence and published some interesting results. It is great to use this space radiation knowledge which comes from fundamental science research, for development of space technologies and in industrial collaborations in Turkey.”
Specilaized human resources in space radiation area will also be trained in METU. Currently, 1 post doctoral researcher, 2 PhD and 2 master students, 1 project specialist, 1 engineer and 3 technician is working on the project. The group is expected to enlarge during the project.