World View, the leading stratospheric ballooning and space tourism company, has announced a partnership with Space Environment Technologies to include a suite of technologies aboard World View space capsules that will measure space radiation and other forms of data about Earth’s atmosphere.
SET’s system, coined ARMAS (for “Automated Radiation Measurements for Aerospace Safety”), will accompany World View’s development and commercial space flights from 2023-2024. ARMAS data from these flights will help World View and SET develop a deeper understanding of Earth’s high-altitude environments and the stratosphere. The high-fidelity data will also be made available to the scientific community to advance general knowledge about this most critical and vulnerable part of Earth.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Space Environment Technologies to use the ARMAS program during our flights and help collect critical data that only few have access to,” said Ryan Hartman, World View’s president and CEO. “This partnership is mutually beneficial to both SET and World View, using our test and commercial flights along with ARMAS to gather data and better understand the stratosphere.”
ARMAS was developed by a team led by Principal Investigator W. Kent Tobiska to measure charged particles and high-energy photons at varying altitudes in the atmosphere and the stratosphere. ARMAS uses an innovative approach with a dosimeter sensor to enhance Earth science research and improve aerospace safety. This technology is similar to that used on commercial airline flights and will give both World View and Space Environment Technologies a better mutual understanding of the data for scientific and engineering use.
Data points gathered during flights in 2023 will be retrieved in real-time, downlinked to the ground, and used in the validated Nowcast of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation for Aerospace Safety-modeled radiation environment. When ARMAS data is ingested into NAIRAS, an improved accuracy of radiation dose rates along with airborne flight tracks is accomplished.
One ultimate objective of this research is to gather data on radiation exposure by flying in lower radiation regions or spending less time in higher radiation locations. The source of the radiation, whether from galactic cosmic rays, solar flares, or the Van Allen radiation belts, is an example of how the dynamically changing space weather environment can affect the population as we become more technologically advanced.
“The World View and SET partnership allows for stratospheric balloon flight of ARMAS and will open the door to understanding regions of the atmosphere that are infrequently observed,” said Tobiska. “This will help us better understand how we reduce radiation exposure for commercial passengers’ stratospheric travel as well as space flight within the next five years.”