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Specialized services for space industry

SCK CEN - Ruimte (2019)

Researching and solving challenges on your journey to space

There’s a lot to gain when it comes to space exploration. Economic growth or the development of innovative products, for example. Or the title of being a space pioneer, making you a reliable source in your industry. But there are also some hurdles, and we are here to help you overcome them.  

Our experts at SCK CEN have investigated solutions for some of space exploration’s major challenges. From exposure to cosmic radiation to the preparation of flight experiments and space missions. With more than 30 years of experience in space biology, radiation research, experimentation and development, we know how to help you successfully launch your journey into space.

One thing that space and nuclear research have in common?
They are both dealing with ionising radiation. That means: everything has to be fail-safe.
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20211007_Space-ruimte

A night on the moon lasts 14 days

Before we get to Mars, there are a few milestones we need to pass to make this a safe journey.

One of the huge roadblocks is energy supply. You can’t rely on solar power on the moon, where there are 14 days of light and 14 days of darkness. How will you solve the energy demand? What will astronauts eat? Do you apply the appropriate radiation safety standards?

3 ways to help you on your way to space

Aiming for the Moon? Mars? Or do you want to mitigate, protect or qualify against the effects of cosmic radiation? Our expertise in the fields below can guide you further on your journey.

  • SCK CEN - UNamur - ULB - rotifer in space - 2020

    Space biology

    Space is the most extreme environment humans have ever encountered. Long term exposure to space radiation in a weightless environment creates health problems for people, food and water production, waste recycling and biological payloads. At SCK CEN, we are researching the unwanted side effects of radiation and the mechanisms driving them. Simultaneously, we help you develop new technologies to cope with these biological challenges.

  • SCK CEN - Ruimte (2019)

    Experiment design & ground-based testing facilities

    In space, preparation wins battles. To make sure you get it right from the beginning, we experiment with space-simulating conditions - right here on earth. We can test your biological material in space simulated conditions, we can teach you the measures and safety regulations to collect, store and protect samples and biological/industrial material from radiation. In addition to making our radiation testing facilities available, we provide you with the necessary paperwork & safety documentation so that you are ready for liftoff.

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    Nuclear energy and propulsion

    Nights on the moon are long and dark. Refueling while traveling through space is still not an option. Together, we can explore the nuclear potential for energy and propulsion by sharing our deep nuclear knowledge. As a future isotope supplier for RTG batteries, we can provide a helping hand in developing nuclear propulsion systems. We also give you access to radiation testing facilities to test out electronic equipment and sensitive components.

The role of dosimetry in space

Protection against radiation is necessary, sure. But how do you measure what you are protecting against? Here’s where our more than 50 years of experience in dosimetry come into play.

At SCK CEN, we create, use and share our dosimetric tools to evaluate the radiological impact on people, biological tissue and materials. Through predictive models and the actual use of dosimeters, we simulate and measure radiation doses and gather this information to create even more accurate dosimeters.

Because that is what we do. We make sure you, your team and your research are always up to date and in the clear when it comes to ionising radiation. 

Could we bake bread on Mars? Can we extract nutrients from rocks?
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SCK CEN - Infrastructuur BR2 (2019)

The infrastructure you need to excel

We don’t let you embark on your space journey without practice. That’s why we give you access to all our dedicated space facilities. Think: research reactor BR2 with exceptional irradiation capacities, RPM (Random Positioning Machine) to recreate the conditions of reduced gravity. Or our new calibration laboratory, our bioreactor, where you can realistically recreate biological processes with bacteria or human cells… Everything you need to solve your space challenges and to enrich your space research.

Leveling the playing field

Whether you’re a private company, a governmental organization or a university interested in research, our services give everyone a fair shot at becoming a space pioneer.

Do you want to learn more about our space expertise?

We can help. Our nuclear experts provide training and carry out continuous scientific research themselves in order to gain new insights. Would you like more information? Go to SCK CEN Academy, jump to our training courses or read our publications.

Are you ready for your journey to space? Let’s set off together.

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