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Technical Paper

A New Method for Calculating Low Energy Neutron Flux

A new method is developed for calculating the low energy neutron flux in a space environment which is protected from galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and solar particle events (SPE) by shielding materials. Our calculations are compared with low energy neutron flux flight data recorded on four different STS low earth orbit missions. We also compare our neutron flux calculations with the low energy neutron flux data recorded by MIR. The low energy neutron flux calculations can be described as a deterministic method for solving the Boltzmann equation for the light ion flux associated with a given environment. Existing Monte Carlo neutron flux simulations associated with the MIR and ISS space stations are also compared with our deterministic method for calculating neutron flux.
Technical Paper

Collaborative Engineering Methods for Radiation Shield Design

The hazards of ionizing radiation in space continue to be a limiting factor in the design of spacecraft and habitats. Shielding against such hazards adds to the mission costs and is even an enabling technology in human exploration and development of space. We are developing a web accessible system for radiation hazard evaluation in the design process. The framework for analysis and collaborative engineering is used to integrate mission trajectory, environmental models, craft materials and geometry, system radiation response functions, and mission requirements for evaluation and optimization of shielding distribution and materials. Emphasis of the first version of this integrated design system will address low Earth orbit allowing design system validation using STS, Mir, and ISS measurements. The second version will include Mars, lunar, and other deep space mission analysis.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Numerical Solution Techniques for Calculating Low Energy Neutrons

In this paper we investigate three numerical techniques for solving the one-dimensional straight-ahead Boltzmann equation for calculating the flux of low energy neutrons produced within a shielding material. The one-dimensional Boltzmann equation is split into a forward and backward coupled system of equations representing the production of ions of various types within a shielding material. The three numerical methods are then compared with neutron data from the Mir and ISS space station as well as Monte Carlo simulations for the production of low energy neutrons.
Technical Paper

International Space Station Radiation Shielding Model Development

The projected radiation levels within the International Space Station (ISS) have been criticized by the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel in their report to the NASA Administrator. Methods for optimal reconfiguration and augmentation of the ISS shielding are now being developed. The initial steps are to develop reconfigurable and realistic radiation shield models of the ISS modules, develop computational procedures for the highly anisotropic radiation environment, and implement parametric and organizational optimization procedures. The targets of the redesign process are the crew quarters where the astronauts sleep and determining the effects of ISS shadow shielding of an astronaut in a spacesuit. The ISS model as developed will be reconfigurable to follow the ISS. Swapping internal equipment rack assemblies via location mapping tables will be one option for shield optimization.
Technical Paper

Neutron Environment Calculations for Low Earth Orbit

The long term exposure of astronauts on the developing International Space Station (ISS) requires an accurate knowledge of the internal exposure environment for human risk assessment and other onboard processes. The natural environment is moderated by the solar wind, which varies over the solar cycle. The HZETRN high charge and energy transport code developed at NASA Langley Research Center can be used to evaluate the neutron environment on ISS. A time dependent model for the ambient environment in low earth orbit is used. This model includes GCR radiation moderated by the Earth’s magnetic field, trapped protons, and a recently completed model of the albedo neutron environment formed through the interaction of galactic cosmic rays with the Earth’s atmosphere. Using this code, the neutron environments for space shuttle missions were calculated and comparisons were made to measurements by the Johnson Space Center with onboard detectors.
Technical Paper

Neutrons in Space: Shield Models and Design Issues

The normal working and living areas of the astronaut are designed to provide an acceptable level of protection against the hazards of ionizing space radiation. Attempts to reduce the exposures require intervening shield materials to reduce the transmitted radiation. An unwelcome side effect of the shielding is the production of neutrons, which are themselves dangerous particles that can be (but are not always) more hazardous than the particles that produced them. This is especially true depending on the choice of shield materials. Although neutrons are not a normal part of the space environment, they can be a principle component of astronaut exposure in the massive spacecraft's required for human space travel and habitation near planetary surfaces or other large bodies of material in space.
Technical Paper

Radiation Protection Effectiveness of a Proposed Magnetic Shielding Concept for Manned Mars Missions

The effectiveness of a proposed concept for shielding a manned Mars vehicle using a confined magnetic field configuration is evaluated by computing estimated crew radiation exposures resulting from galactic cosmic rays and a large solar flare event. In the study the incident radiation spectra are transported through the spacecraft structure/magnetic shield using the deterministic space radiation transport computer codes developed at Langley Research Center. The calculated exposures unequivocally demonstrate that magnetic shielding could provide an effective barrier against solar flare protons but is virtually transparent to the more energetic galactic cosmic rays. It is then demonstrated that through proper selection of materials and shield configuration, adequate and reliable bulk material shielding can be provided for the same total mass as needed to generate and support the more risky magnetic field configuration.
Technical Paper

Radiation Shielding Issues in Highly Inclined Low Earth Orbits

The highly inclined orbit of the International Space Station Alpha exhibits significant radiation exposure contributions from the galactic cosmic rays penetrating the earth's magnetic field. In the absence of an accepted method for estimating the corresponding astronaut risk, we examined the attenuation characteristics using conventional LET dependent quality factors (as one means of representing RBE) and a track-structure repair model fit to cell transformation (and inactivation) data in the C3H10T1/2 mouse cell system obtained by T. C. Yang and coworkers for various ion beams. Although the usual aluminum spacecraft shield is effective in reducing dose equivalent with increasing shield thickness, cell transformation rates are increased for thin aluminum shields providing increased risk rather than protection to large shield thickness.
Technical Paper

Shuttle Induced Neutron Environment: Computational Requirements and Validation

Most of the neutrons seen in the habitable environment of spacecraft in LEO are produced in local materials of the spacecraft structures by the impact of the LEO radiation environment. There are two components of the neutron spectra: one produced near the forward direction and a diffuse isotropic component. The forward component satisfies a Volterra equation and is solved by standard marching procedures. The diffuse component is generally of lower energy and nearly isotropically scattered as they diffuse through the spacecraft structures. Leakage at near boundaries marks the diffusion process and solutions are strongly dependent on forward and backward boundaries with minor contributions from lateral diffusion along spacecraft wall structures. The diffuse neutron equation is solved using multigroup methods with impressed forward and backward boundary conditions.
Technical Paper

Solutions to the Low Energy Neutron Boltzmann Equation for Space Applications

One goal of space radiation research is to reduce the computational time and increase the accuracy of various radiation calculations to aid in their use in a collaborative engineering environment. For example, a fast turn around time is a feature needed for comparison of radiation shielding effects associated with various design configurations of the International Space Station. Research toward this effort has been conducted on various forms of the low energy neutron Boltzmann equation. Simplified models involving the straight ahead approximation, which have fast computational speeds, have been developed at NASA Langley Research Center during the late 1980's as part of a larger high energy ion transport code. Various modifications to improve the accuracy of these computer codes have been an ongoing project. The goal to increase the accuracy of low energy neutron transport without effecting the fast computational times has been a successful ongoing research effort.
Technical Paper

Standardized Radiation Shield Design Method: 2005 HZETRN

Research committed by the Langley Research Center through 1995 resulting in the HZETRN code provides the current basis for shield design methods according to NASA STD-3000 (2005). With this new prominence, the database, basic numerical procedures, and algorithms are being re-examined with new methods of verification and validation being implemented to capture a well defined algorithm for engineering design processes to be used in this early development phase of the Bush initiative. This process provides the methodology to transform the 1995 HZETRN research code into the 2005 HZETRN engineering code to be available for these early design processes. In this paper, we will review the basic derivations including new corrections to the codes to insure improved numerical stability and provide benchmarks for code verification.