Space weather or space threat? As space becomes increasingly contested, satellite operators must be able to identify and discriminate between natural and man-made threats to the space enterprise. The REACH (Responsive Environmental Assessment Commercially Hosted) project can solve these problems.
An Aerospace team has developed a forward-looking and highly cost-effective method for making this distinction in real time by monitoring the radiation environment around satellites in low Earth orbit. The team developed a space-grade, miniaturized version of a dosimeter – a device used to monitor and measure radiation. Beginning in 2017, these dosimeters were launched on board commercial satellites to measure the radiation associated with space weather in orbit. The project, Responsive Environmental Assessment Commercially Hosted, or REACH, serves as a groundbreaking proof of concept for the future of satellite situational awareness.