Since 1992, CNES developed several flight experiments intended to measure the space radiative environment and the effect of radiations on electronic components. Some of them flew on the MIR space station, the International Space Station (ISS) and functions successfully on board SAC-C Argentine satellite since November 2001.
In the continuation of these flight experiments, CARMEN (ChARacterization and Modelling of the ENvironment) is an instrument concept based on a set of modules dedicated to the measurement of the space environment (orbital debris, high and low energy particles...), to be tailored by the mission needs and constraints, and with an architecture articulated around a principal instrument able to interface the various modules.
Different modules have been developed:
- ICARE-NG is a new generation of the ICARE instrument which flew on the MIR space station, the International Space Station (ISS) and functions successfully on board SAC-C Argentine satellite since November 2001. It is aboard SAC-D and JASON-2 satellites which were respectively launched in 2008 and 2011. It is manufactured by EREMS company.
- SODAD is a dedicated instrument to the study of micrometeoroids and orbital debris in the space environment monitoring in time and in space the resulting effects. It is manufactured by STEEL company.
- AMBER is an analyzer (from the expertise of IRAP) under development which will allow to measure low energy fluxes of electrons and protons in order to determine the satellite potential and to correlate the anomalies due to the electrostatic discharges (ESD). It is manufactured by EREMS company.