In a spacecraft, in order to protect both crew and electronics from radiation, it is mandatory to invest in effective radiation monitoring systems. The International Space Station (ISS), just like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, is a complex radiation environment that requires bespoke dosimetry devices. Optical-fibre-based technologies can provide both distributed and point radiation dose measurements with high precision.
On 18 August, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet activated the Lumina experiment inside the ISS as part of the ALPHA mission. Developed under the coordination of the French Space Agency, CNES, and with the involvement of CERN, the Laboratoire Hubert Curien at the Université Jean-Monnet-Saint-Étienne, and iXblue, this project uses two several-kilometre-long optical fibres as active dosimeters to measure ionising radiation in the ISS with very high sensitivity.