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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Research and Creative Works Conference

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In order to predict and mitigate adverse environmental effects prone to spacecraft in orbit about earth, a versatile pre-launch test capability for assessment and verification of small satellites, systems, and components was developed by Utah State University’s Materials Physics Group. To further diversify this project, a 100 mCi strontium-90 beta radiation source (0.5 MeV – 2.5 MeV) was exploited to simulate high energy electron flux characteristic of geostationary orbit. Various samples including in-the-loop hardware, spacecraft materials, optical components, and solar arrays will be irradiated to gain a better understanding how these materials and electronics break down in space environments. For employee protection, various high and low-Z shielding materials were implemented to minimize x-ray dose rates near the test chamber. In order to forecast employee dose while working around the source, x-ray attenuation through the various shielding materials was calculated. Upon discovering a deficiency in shielding capability, an additional lead sheath was constructed to reduce the dose rate outside of the test chamber to nearly background radiation. Dose rates measured post installation of the source strongly agree with the predicted values (~ 5% error).