63 votes
Accepted

Why did the Tesla Roadster spend time in the Van Allen belt?

Up until this flight of Falcon Heavy, officially, SpaceX could not fully deliver a satellite to [nearly circular] GEO (Geosynchronous Earth Orbit), but only to a [highly elliptical] GTO (Geosync ...
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20 votes
Accepted

Can we survive Van Allen belt radiation?

A satellite shielded by 3 mm of aluminium in an elliptic orbit (200 by 20,000 miles (320 by 32,190 km)) passing the radiation belts will receive about 2,500 rem (25 Sv) per year (for comparison, a ...
  • 1,000
19 votes
Accepted

Did the Apollo missions fly "over the top" of the Van Allen radiation belts?

Not exactly "over the top" (still through the outer portion of the belts), but yes, it appears so, according to this source. There are simplified trajectory plots shown in the link. Also this source ...
13 votes

Can we survive Van Allen belt radiation?

No, it is not impossible. 9 Apollo missions sent humans through the Van Allen belts, and the astronauts survived just fine. The radiation levels in the Van Allen belts are high, about 1000 times ...
  • 119k
11 votes
Accepted

Sputnik, Van Allen belts

Sputnik had just one single job: Prove its existence by sending a simple "beep" regularly (about 2-3 times a second, afaik). It was a single radio signal. There was no problem with radiation,...
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9 votes

Sputnik, Van Allen belts

Sputnik-1 had initial orbit with 950 km apogee an 220 km perigee. It was planned to have 1450 km apogee but the rocket underperformed slightly. 950 km is far from most intensive radiation belts. Also, ...
  • 8,636
8 votes

Distance between Kármán Line and Van Allen Belt

Depends where on Earth you measure. The distance between is greatest at the Equator and narrowest at the poles. The Kármán line is near an altitude of 100 km around the Earth. This is fairly ...
  • 3,531
8 votes
Accepted

How quickly do the Van Allen radiation belts degrade solar panels?

This response addresses the generic degradation of solar arrays passing through Van Allen belts, rather than those specifically bound for the moon. Its a topic that has stirred up a lot of interest ...
  • 8,968
6 votes

Could Laika have survived the Van Allen radiation during the intended duration of her mission?

Humans have passed through the Van Allen belts and lived, but you know that. The outer belts are the highest radiation ones, and those are out beyond the ~1600km maximum of the Sputnik 2 orbit. ...
5 votes
Accepted

What are the cutting edge materials & strategies which could be used for radiation shielding on long-duration missions?

Most shielding is just mass plus atomic number - for cosmic Ray shielding you want light elements, as heavy elements make more radiation. Water and polyethylene are good options. The main ...
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4 votes

How quickly do the Van Allen radiation belts degrade solar panels?

It turns out that IEEE Xplore Nuclear Science published a paper on the subject of solar cell degradation in the Van Allen belts. While I can't read the paper, it mentions that N-P solar cells (The ...
  • 119k
4 votes

Distance between Kármán Line and Van Allen Belt

@DanSorensen's answer is probably just what you are looking for, the distance from the Kármán line to the beginning of the intense part of the lower Van Allen belt. However, there are two (or maybe ...
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3 votes

Is Radiation in the Van Allen Belt Anisotropic?

There are satellite observations of electron anisotropy: The radiation belt electrons move incredibly quickly, but not toward Earth. Instead, they move in giant loops around Earth. The Van Allen ...
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3 votes

Is it still called a Van Allen radiation belt if it's around another planet?

According to the Wikipedia article on radiation belts, only Earth's radiation belts are referred to as Van Allen belts: The discovery of the belts is credited to James Van Allen, and as a result ...
3 votes

What kinds of radiation hit the ISS?

The ISS gets its radiation from galactic cosmic rays, solar cosmic rays, and the Van Allen belts. You are correct that the magnetic field does a pretty good job protecting the ISS from solar ...
  • 831
3 votes
Accepted

Analyzing Van Allen belt's radiation Dataset

If you read the article @JonCuster linked, Multiyear Measurements of Radiation Belt Electrons: Acceleration, Transport, and Loss by Baker, et al., and scroll down to the end, you will find this: Van ...
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2 votes
Accepted

How Intuitive Machines' engines "crank out unmatched performance in the space domain" allowing "transit of Van Allen belts once, unlike competitors"?

By "performance" they mean thrust, as opposed to ISP, as suggested in the comments. There are far more mass-efficient engines than theirs that are already in use eg: ion thrusters. Their ...
  • 1,079
2 votes

Could Laika have survived the Van Allen radiation during the intended duration of her mission?

The flux values of the charged particles radiation vary heavily depending on position within the Van Allen belts and are influenced by solar storms. At the magnetic equator, electrons of energies ...
  • 47.8k
2 votes

What kinds of radiation hit the ISS?

As far as radiation, the biggest thing that NASA is worried about seems to be as follows: Gamma rays While fusion in the core does produce gamma rays, these high-energy photons are absorbed and re-...
2 votes

If I spend one day beyond the Van Allen belt in an unshielded craft/spacesuit how much radiation will I be exposed to?

This must relate to real-time solar conditions. e.g. a quiet day a storm day some mission time weighted average Any of these could be misleading without specifying the assumptions. Note that the ...
  • 8,968
1 vote

If I spend one day beyond the Van Allen belt in an unshielded craft/spacesuit how much radiation will I be exposed to?

From this answer on Travel.SE a flight from New York to Tokyo is probably about 150 μSV. For comparison, natural background radiation is about 2,000-7,000 μSv per year, a chest x-ray is about 50 ...
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1 vote
Accepted

Space Elevator Hurdle: Can you ground out the Van Allen belts?

My gut feeling says no. The problem you face is that the total electric charge in the belts is immense. Your cable is a few meters in diameter tops, while the bands themselves are thousands of ...
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