Feasibility study of astronaut standardized career dose limits in LEO and the outlook for BLEO
Cosmic Study Group SG 3.19/1.10 was established in February 2013 under the aegis of the International Academy of Astronautics to consider and compare the dose limits adopted by various space agencies for astronauts in Low Earth Orbit. A preliminary definition of the limits that might later be adopted by crews exploring Beyond Low Earth Orbit was, in addition, to be made. The present paper presents preliminary results of the study reported at a Symposium held in Turin by the Academy in July 2013. First, an account is provided of exposure limits assigned by various partner space agencies to those of their astronauts that work aboard the International Space Station. Then, gaps in the scientific and technical information required to safely implement human missions beyond the shielding provided by the geomagnetic field (to the Moon, Mars and beyond) are identified. Among many recommendations for actions to mitigate the health risks potentially posed to personnel Beyond Low Earth Orbit is the development of a preliminary concept for a Human Space Awareness System to: provide for crewed missions the means of prompt onboard detection of the ambient arrival of hazardous particles; develop a strategy for the implementation of onboard responses to hazardous radiation levels; support modeling/model validation that would enable reliable predictions to be made of the arrival of hazardous radiation at a distant spacecraft; provide for the timely transmission of particle alerts to a distant crewed vehicle at an emergency frequency using suitably located support spacecraft. Implementation of the various recommendations of the study can be realized based on a two pronged strategy whereby Space Agencies/Space Companies/Private Entrepreneurial Organizations etc. address the mastering of required key technologies (e.g. fast transportation; customized spacecraft design) while the International Academy of Astronautics, in a role of handling global international co-operation, organizes complementary studies aimed at harnessing the strengths and facilities of emerging nations in investigating/solving related problems (e.g. advanced space radiation modeling/model validation; predicting the arrivals of Solar Energetic Particles and shocks at a distant spacecraft). Ongoing progress in pursuing these complementary parallel programs could be jointly reviewed bi-annually by the Space Agencies and the International Academy of Astronautics so as to maintain momentum and direction in globally progressing towards feasible human exploration of interplanetary space.
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