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Vanderbilt radiation experiment flies on record-setting SpaceX launch

by Dec. 11, 2018, 2:20 PM

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched Monday, Dec. 3, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and delivered 64 small satellites into sun-synchronous low-Earth orbit – setting a U.S. record for the largest single rideshare mission. On board was a Vanderbilt radiation experiment designed by Brian Sierawski, research assistant professor of electrical engineering.

The Vanderbilt researchers are modeling the radiation exposure and testing key components for radiation sensitivity, which will help them design electronics systems for greater fault tolerance.

Specifically, they are making real time measurements of radiation-induced failures called single-event upsets (SEUs) and conducting extensive computer simulations of the performance of the electronics using unique software developed at Vanderbilt over the last decade.