Alteino Long Term Cosmic Ray Measurements on board the International Space Station (ALTCRISS) - 10.21.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
ALTCRISS is dedicated to perform a long term measurement of the radiation environment at different points inside the International Space Station (ISS). ALTCRISS will also measure continuously the cosmic radiation flow and its changes over time, especially in relation to long and short term solar activity, induced respectively by the solar cycle and solar eruptions.

Science Results for Everyone

Feel it here? How about there? Researchers measured radiation at different points inside the International Space Station and cosmic radiation flow changes over time to evaluate the effectiveness of different shielding materials on board. They first created a map of particle flux, or the rate of transfer of particles through a unit area, and determined a spectrum that identifies atomic nuclei that have numbers up to and above that of iron. That spectrum showed more abundance of nuclei with even atomic numbers than with odd, which is characteristic of cosmic rays. The data will help determine the station’s radiation environment and effectiveness of shielding materials.

The following content was provided by Marco Casolino, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.

Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)

  • Marco Casolino, Ph.D., Universita of Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Piergiorgio Picozza, Ph.D., University of Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
  • Roberto Battiston, Istituto Nazionale di Fiscica Nucleare-Sezione di Perugia and Universita di Perugia, Perugia, Italy
  • Livio Conti, Università Roma Tre, Rome, Italy
  • V Bengin, Ph.D., Institute for Biomedical Problems, Moscow, Russia
  • Piero Spillantini, Ph.D., University of Florence, Florence, Italy
  • Marco Durante, Ph.D., University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
  • Cesare Lobascio, Ph.D., Alenia Spazio, Rome, Italy
  • Christer Fuglesang, Ph.D., European Astronaut Centre, Köln, Germany
  • Livio Narici, Ph.D., University of Roma Tor Vergata and INFN-Roma2, Rome, Italy
  • Lembit Sihver, Ph.D., Czech Tenchical University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Günter Reitz, Ph.D., German Aerospace Center, Köln, Germany
  • Aiko Nagamatsu, Ph.D., Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, Japan

  • Developer(s)
    European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk, , Netherlands

    German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, , Germany

    Institute for Biomedical Problems, Moscow, , Russia

    Italian Space Agency (ASI), Rome, , Italy

    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba, , Japan

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    European Space Agency (ESA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Information Pending

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    October 2005 - April 2008

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
    Information Pending

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • Astronauts are subject to radiation doses 1000 times higher in space compared to radiation doses on Earth.

    • ALTCRISS will measure cosmic rays and the radiation environment on board the ISS and study the effectiveness of different shielding materials on board the ISS.

    • ALTCRISS will also perform measurements with passive dosimeters using Matroshka and ALTEA, as well as long term monitoring of solar modulation and solar particle events.

    ALTCRISS will study the effect of shielding on cosmic rays in two different and complementary ways. The detector of the Alteino device will monitor differences in the flow of cosmic rays with regard to the position and orientation of the Alteino device and also with regard to different shielding materials placed over the particle acceptance windows of the Alteino instrument. The Alteino detector was operational during the European Marco Polo and Eneide missions with ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori. It is composed of a cosmic ray detector (AST/Sileye-3) and an Electroencephalograph (EEG), though the Electroencephalograph will not be used in the ALTCRISS project. The data obtained will be used to better understand the radiation environment in spacecraft and how to provide efficient shielding against it. The observations are expected to last three years.

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    Space Applications
    Information Pending

    Earth Applications
    Information Pending

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    Operational Requirements
    Information Pending

    Operational Protocols
    Information Pending

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    Results/More Information

    Data collection began in December 2005 during Expedition 12. As part of the preliminary results, data capture by Sileye-3 in its unshielded configuration during an eleven day period in the Pirs Docking Compartment was used to create an all particle map which correlates particle flux, the rate of transfer of particles through a unit area, with latitude. The map showed the highest flux peak occurring in the South Atlantic Anomaly, the region where the inner Van Allen radiation belt comes nearest to Earth and where the particle flux rate increases more than one order of magnitude. Smaller peaks also occurred at the poles, were geomagnetic shielding is lower than nearer the equator which also results in higher particle flux rates.

    Researchers also derived a spectrum of atomic nuclei that identifies nuclei with atomic numbers up to and above that of iron from the Pirs Docking Compartment data acquisition session. The spectrum also showed that nuclei with even atomic numbers are more abundant than those with odd atomic numbers, which is characteristic of cosmic rays. Analysis of data is currently ongoing.

    The data gathered from the ALTCRISS project will be useful in not only determining the radiation environment on board ISS but will contribute to the determination of the effectiveness of shielding materials in space (Casolino et al. 2007).

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

      Casolino M.  Cosmic ray investigations during the marco polo and eneide missions with the sileye-3/alteino experiment. Microgravity Science and Technology. 2007 September; 19(5-6): 49-53. DOI: 10.1007/BF02919452.

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    Related Websites
    The information on this page is provided courtesy of the ESA Erasmus Experiment Archive.
    Columbus Mission - European Experiment Programme
    The information provided is courtesy of the ESA Astrolab Mission web page.

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    image Brazilian Astronaut, Marcos Pontes, in the Zvezda Service Module near the Alteino hardware during ISS Expedition 12. the Alteino hardware will be used for the ALTCRISS investigation. Image courtesy of NASA.
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    image NASA Image: ISS015E11115 - View of an Alteino Long Term Monitoring of Cosmic Ray (ALTCRISS / ALC) Time Log Table (upper right) and Materials Kits (blue and orange bags) for the ALTCRISS Experiment in the Service Module (SM)/Zvezda. Photo taken during Expedition 15.
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