The first CRREAT workshop will be held in the main building of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague from 19th - 20th December 2017. It covers three main scientific topics: 1. Dosimetry of ionizing radiation in the atmosphere, 2. Physics of storm clouds and upper-atmosphere phenomena, and 3. Characteristics of the electromagnetic field in the atmosphere. So far, 22 oral presentations are registered and about 40 participants will join the workshop. Meeting of the Scientific advisory committee (SAC) of CRREAT will follow. Updated: Event is succesfully over. See selected photos below the text.
Řež / Prague, December 4th, 2017
On November 29, 2017, the CRREAT team realized an international experiment focused on the influence of cosmic radiation onboard aircraft. Czech experts, along with colleagues from nine countries, compared – directly in flight – the methods and devices used to measure cosmic radiation. The results of experiment will contribute to the further development of the most accurate standardized dosimeter to be flown on board commercial aircraft and will provide valuable insight into further development of air transport safety.
The research flight is part of the research activities of the CRREAT project funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds under the Operational Program Research, Development and Education. It was attended by representatives of institutions from all over the world, in particular from EURADOS (European Radiation Dosimetry Group), some of them personally, others sent their devices only. The test focused on the characterization of the radiation field with various instruments onboard the aircraft during their common flight under steady conditions (one flight level and a small range of geographical coordinates). Several dozen different radiation detectors have been compared. They were based on the Embraer Legacy 600 aircraft operated by ABS Jets company, which succeeded in making this research flight and its fleet fulfilled the demanding requirements of the scientific experiment. “The number of devices and subscribers was now several times larger than the previous similar experiments in the world,” says Ondřej Ploc, research scientist at the DRD of NPI CAS and the Deputy Director of the CRREAT project. The Embraer Legacy 600, together with 250 kg of equipment and its eight-member scientific staff, led from Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague to the FL390 flight level (approximately 12 km above sea level). At this level, they circulated over the Czech Republic for two hours and landed back at Prague Airport. “The area was not chosen at random, it is a reserved airspace that is commonly used for operating test flights by us,” said Štefan Kukura, head of ABS Jets. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the group of aircraft belongs to groups that receive the highest annual effective doses, often exceeding the limits for the public. The Atomic Act (Law) of the Czech Republic imposes an obligation on aircraft operators to monitor their radiation doses in flights over 8 km. The results of the research flight also help to validate of codes for evaluation of the aircrew exposure by measurement and help to improve of the so-called cosmic weather models.
The CRREAT project and its activities were presented at the Science Fair of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Letňany Exhibition Center PVA in Prague, June 8-10 by Martin Kákona, Dagmar Kyselová, Marek Sommer and Jakub Šlegl from the Department of Radiation Dosimetry of the Nuclear Physics Institute.
Jakub Šlegl presented the results from two stratospheric balloon flights in the Czech Republic and the status of development of the CANDY detector at the Near Space 2017 conference in Torun, Poland. CANDY is an open source/open hardware detector based on a silicon diode, developed at DRD NPI CAS.
We also participated in the joint launch of the stratospheric balloon organised during the conference; complementing the video streaming setup and other developments onboard, CANDY provided the cosmic radiation measurements.
The conference is part of the “Visegrad Closer to Space,” programme that brings together students and hobbyist from the V4 countries to share ideas and spark new collaborations. CRREAT participation was possible thanks to the Czech Space Agency.
Following several months of preparations, a joint team of students and researchers from the Nuclear Physics Institute of the CAS (NPI CAS) and the Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU in Prague) launched the Fik 2 stratospheric balloon from the Dlouhá Lhota Airport near Příbram, Czech Republic.
Aided by three ground stations, the ballon provided a live stream of telemetry and detector data; these were then shared online to the project team and also to the general public via HabHub balloon tracker and Twitter feed (in Czech). Thanks to the involvement of the general public, the gondola and parachute were successfully located and retrieved three hours later near Brno in South Moravia.
Objectives of the experiment were to test the positioning and communication solution developed at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the CTU in Prague by the group of Pavel Kovář and to measure cosmic radiation at different altitudes using active and passive radiation detectors. The positioning and communication system were tested successfully.
A modular system of lightweight 3D printed boards provided structural support for all the devices in balloon gondola - including the central CPU platform, CANDY detector, radio modem, GPS module and batteries. In case of collision with a plane, these easy to break structures would minimise the impact. Kinetic shock during start inadvertently led to activation of this feature - resulting in unavailability of the CANDY detector data.
The event also contributed to increasing the interest in cosmic radiation and stratospheric balloon flights among the students and general public.
Short video overview of the flight is available at YouTube.
Members of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) gathered for a three-day meeting at the Nuclear Physics Institute in Řež and Prague to discuss the proposed work plan and scientific goals of the CRREAT project. Recommendations and comments from the SAC will help steer the project during the upcoming year.
Department of Radiation Dosimetry subsequently hosted a session on the SEVAN detector network.