Space Environments and Effects Facility

Facility used for analysis of space environments

ESA's Space Environments and Effects Section maintains a computational facility used for analysis of space environments (energetic particle radiation, plasmas, atmospheres, micro-particles, contamination, etc.) and their effects on space systems including the acquisition and analysis of in-flight data and the development of environment and effects models. 

Responsibilities include:

  • supporting ESA and European programmes, 
  • preparation of standards, 
  • establishment and execution of a research and development programme 
  • coordination and liaison with external bodies.

The instrumentation provided by this facility provides in-situ measurements of the space environment. This data is provided publicly and provides external B2B entities with data to characterise the environment, providing the necessary inputs for spacecraft anomaly analyses, in flight degradation calculations, verification of space environment models, the development of new models and to provide boundary conditions for physical simulations of the environment.

The external computational infrastructure of the facility provides a source for this data, as well as a resource for collaborative efforts for development of simulation and modelling software, such as Geant4 Radiation Analysis for Space (GRAS), Network of Models (NoM), Open Data Interface (ODI), etc through an SVN and GitHub service.

For general enquires regarding this TEC location please refer to the assigned contacts:

Hugh Evans


Petteri Nieminen

Technical manager
For testing requests, access to lab facilities, training and consultancy services, please refer to:


TPA Management system

Domains of responsibility

Radiation environments (radiation belts, cosmic rays, solar radiation), shielding and interactions (dose, degradation, charging, single event effects, sensor background, astronaut hazards);
Plasma environments and interactions (spacecraft surface and internal electrostatic charging, science instrument effects, electric propulsion, solar arrays, “active” systems);
Micro-particle (small-sized debris, micrometeoroids and dust) environments and effects, especially risk assessment tools;
Atmospheric models and tools for engineering use (atomic oxygen erosion, etc.), for mission planning (Mars & Titan global models), and for support of Earth observation payloads.

Next Generation Radiation Monitor (NGRM)

The Next Generation Radiation Monitor (NGRM) is the successor of the ESA Standard Radiation Environment Monitor (SREM). NGRM measures protons from 2 MeV up to 200 MeV, electrons from 100 keV up to 7 MeV as well as the Linear Energy Transfer (LET) spectrum of ions. Compared to SREM, NGRM provides a much better energy resolution, is smaller (< 1 litre), lighter (~1 kg), and consumes less power (1-2 W).

Technical parameters


1.17 kg


~1 W by wide power voltage bus from 28 to 50 Vdc


150 mm × 132 mm × 67.9 mm (h×w×l)


15 year GEO mission, 12 years in MEO

Next Generation Radiation Monitor (NGRM)

Technical parameters

Direction sensitive particle spectroscopy for:

Electrons (e-) in the energy ranges of 0.1 to 7 MeV; 8 quasi-logarithmic channels

Protons (p+) in the energy ranges 2 to 200 MeV; 8 quasi-logarithmic channels

Heavy Ions: LET spectrum 0.1 to 10 MeV cm²/mg; 8 quasi-logarithmic channels

Discrimination of electrons and protons

High count rate of typically

0.1 MeV e–: > 109 /cm²/s events/sec.

1 MeV e–: > 107 /cm²/s events/sec.

2 MeV p+: > 108 /cm²/s events/sec.

20 MeV p+: > 106 /cm²/s events/sec.

Environment Monitoring Unit (EMU)

The Environment Monitoring Unit (EMU) is a radiation monitor designed and built for use in the Galileo orbit and is embarked on GSAT0207 and GSAT0215.

EMU consists of four separate sensors:

A set of 8 charge collection plates for measuring internal charging currents under shielding

8 Proton telescopes for measuring energetic proton fluxes

An Linear Energy Transfer (LET) heavy ion sensor

RadFETS for measuring internal doses inside the instrument


3D Energetic Electron Spectrometer (3DEES)

The 3DEES instrument is a space radiation spectrometer capable of measuring energetic electron (and optionally proton) spectra within the 0.1 – 10 MeV range in 32 energy bins and 3D angular distribution (at least 6 angles distributed within 2 planes) with a resolution for each looking direction better than 20°. The 3DEES concept is based on various charged particle detection principles including ΔE-E telescope principle, the inclined sensor concept. Protons and ions are detected by the instrument and are so cleanly identified that they cannot contaminate the electron spectra. The 3DEES instrument is composed of 1 – 3 Panoramic Spectrometer Modules (PSM), each of which is composed of a Docking Module (DM) to which 2 – 3 Orthogonal Sensor Modules (OSM) are electronically connected.

Technical parameters


~5 kg


~5 W


155 mm × 243 mm × 186 mm (h×w×l)


Standard In Situ Impact Detector (DEBIE-1) 

Knowledge on the meteoroid and space debris environment is required for a reliable spacecraft risk assessment and for the design of protective shielding. At present our models still have large uncertainties. Particles larger than a few cm in diameter can be detected by radar or optical telescopes from the ground.

Information on the small-size (sub-millimeter) meteoroid and space debris environment can only be gained by the analysis of retrieved spacecraft or by in-situ monitors in orbit. For orbits above 600 km retrieval of space hardware is not possible and active monitors are required to measure impacting fluxes, their seasonal variations and long term evolution.

A standard low resources meteoroid and space debris in-situ impact detector (DEBIE-1) will be developed and built. The detector will actively monitor sub-millimeter sized particles which impact the detector surfaces. The instrument will consist of a central processing unit and up to 4 separate sensor units which can be placed on different spacecraft surfaces. DEBIE-1 will use a combination of impact ionisation, momentum and foil penetration detection. The instrument will be designed as a standard detector which can be flown on different spacecraft and missions with little or no modifications.

Standard In Situ Impact Detector (DEBIE-1) 

Technical parameters


  1. Sensor Unit (SU): 560 g
  2. Data Processing Unit (DPU): 740 g
  3. Total (4 SU, harness and DPU): 4 kg


< 4 W


+28 V (+22 V › +36 V)


  1. SU: 100 mm × 100 mm × 47 mm (w×l×h)
  2. DPU: 156 mm × 136 mm × 42.5 mm (w×l×h)

Geostationary Orbit Impact Detector (GORID)

Information on the small-size meteoroid and space debris environment can only be gained by the analysis of retrieved spacecraft or spacecraft parts (only possible for relatively low orbits) or by in-situ monitors in orbit. Instruments to detect impacts from natural meteoroids and man made space debris particles have been flown in Low Earth Orbits (LEO) (e.g. on LDEF, EURECA, MIR, BREMSAT) and on interplanetary missions (e.g. Giotto, Vega, Ulysses, Galileo, Hiten). 

However, very little information on the particulate environment for Earth orbits above about 600 km altitude is available. Especially the space debris environment in the important geostationary ring is largely unknown. Ground based detection in GEO is limited to objects larger than about 0.5 m.

To obtain information on the submicron to millimetre size particle population in GEO the GORID (Geostationary Orbit Impact Detector) experiment was initiated. 

GORID is a joint project between ESA, the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) für Kernphysik in Heidelberg, the Scientific Production Association of Applied Mechanics (NPO-PM) from Krasnoyarsk and the Novosibirsk State University (NSU).


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