AE9/AP9/SPM: Future Versions

The AE9/AP9/SPM suite is designed to support progressive improvements in features and capabilities. Upgraded versions have already been introduced since the initial release and development work is progressing on future updates.

A more flexible effects calculation capability is being developed that would make use of independently calculated effects kernels. Here, a kernel is a specification of the dependence of some effect (e.g., dose damage) as a function of particle species, energy, and depth, and would be the output of some independent particle simulation code for a particular material, shielding geometry, or component. When linked to AE9/AP9, the model’s estimates for flux combined with the effects kernel would provide time-dependent estimates of risk. This is expected to be of particular interest to designers concerned with radiation effects on specific materials or components. To illustrate the capability, a sample kernel for estimated single event effects will be provided.

Another planned mode is the sample solar cycle. This will allow runs through a data-assimilative/physics-based reananlysis of the radiation belts for a full historical solar cycle. While not explicitly predictive, this will provide illustrative results for realistic time variations of hazards, e.g., authentic timescales of flux increases during geomagnetic storms, thus further informing design for worst-case conditions.

Additional modules are planned, the first of which will include a statistical model of solar protons. This and other possible modules will be enabled by an architecture overhaul. These changes will support refined hazard specification (e.g., local time dependence of plasma and east-west effect for protons) and additional hazards (e.g., auroral electrons).

International collaborators will join the project soon, at which point the model will be renamed International Radiation Environment Near Earth, or IRENE.

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Current as of 7 January 2021