Mission phase: E (in flight)
Period: since 2012
Initial TRL: 3
Current TRL: 9 (for SATRAM demonstrator)
CSRC prime: Design and manufacturing of the complete SATRAM unit, FPGA programming, verification, testing, flight measurements data processing.
SATRAM is a technology demonstrator utilizing the Timepix radiation detector, flown on the Proba V vegetation monitoring satellite using Vega launcher from Kourou. Timepix detector is a sensitive radiation monitor developed by CERN, used in particle accelerators and medical applications. Few of the detectors are on the ISS, but the SATRAM is a first application of the detector directly in the outer space. Being a matrix of 256x256 individual radiation-detecting pixels, Timepix allows not only to detect energy levels of the particles, but also direction and angle of impact. SATRAM contains a FPGA controlling the Timepix detector and providing communication with the spacecraft, along with housekeeping, data compression and configuration. The complete unit was developed and manufactured by CSRC with cooperation of IEAP.
When the viability of the Timepix detector for space operations is proven, it is foreseen to be used as a payload device on various satellites. The ultimate goal is to create a low-power autonomous device able to provide warning for the spacecraft when dangerously high radiation levels are present, so the satellite may respond accordingly, possibly by shutting down sensitive equipment.
Additional information can be found in this ESA article.