Columbus Radiation Environment & Effects Package (CREEP)


The Columbus Radiation Environment & Effects Package (CREEP) is an experiment proposed to the European Space Agency in response to the Announcement of Opportunity for externally mounted payloads during the early International Space Station (ISS) utilisation period.

The Agency has carried out a peer review on all the proposals received in the frame of the above mentioned AO. The peer review for Technology experiments has recommended with high priority the CREEP experiment for a flight on the Technology Exposure Facility (TEF) on the Space Station (ref. ESA/IPC(97)121 in the agenda for the IPC of 26/27 November 1997). The PB-MS held on December 1997 has approved the experiments for flight on the Space Station.

The CREEP Principal Investigator is Professor Clive Dyer from the UK Defense Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). CREEP has co-investigators from Switzerland, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Finland, and Canada. The contact persons in ESA are :

  • E. Daly, ESTEC (TEC-EES), CREEP proposer
  • A. Mohammadzadeh, ESTEC (TEC-QCA), CREEP experiment manager
  • P. Nieminen, ESTEC (TEC-EES), CREEP experiment scientist

University of Louvain la Neuve (UCL) maintains minutes of CREEP meetings.


CREEP Configuration

CREEP experiments have been chosen to provide complementary, high-quality data on various particle species over a wide energy range. Directional particle flux information, important at ISS altitudes due to the East-West proton flux anisotropy, will also be available (click here to see a possible CREEP arrangement). The effects of the space radiation environment on a number of critical electronics components will additionally be studied. In its initial configuration, CREEP will contain the following sub-units:



The Standard Radiation Environment Monitor (SREM), designed under ESA, is a follow-on of the highly successful REM instrument, and measures electrons (>0.5 MeV), protons (>10 MeV), and heavy ions qualitatively. The weight of the device is 2.5 kg, power consumption 2.6 W, and the volume approximately 2 liters. The instrument can house a number of both external and internal dosimeters (RADFETs). It is foreseen that two SREM units will be implemented in CREEP, yielding directional particle information. Since SREM is capable of providing a radiation alarm flag, it can also be used during solar storms as a warning device for Space Station astronaut safety. SREM measurements will be made available in real time and, in due course, implemented as a part of the overall SREM measurement data base at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Switzerland, together with data from other SREM units in other missions

Principal Investigator: Dr. Paul Buehler (PSI)




CREAX is a follow-on device of the CREAM and CREDO modules constructed and flown by DERA (UK) on various missions, including several flights on the Space Shuttle. The instrument is optimised for cosmic ray detection, although protons and electrons are also detected, and can provide directional information. As with SREM, there is also a possibility for a number of internal and external RADFETs. CREAX weighs 2.4 kg, has a power consumption of 3-5 W, and a volume of about 2 litres. 

Principal Investigator: Prof. Clive Dyer (DERA)



The SPICA module was originally developed by CNES and ONERA/DESP (F) for the MIR99 mission, based on an earlier radiation monitor type included in ESA's X-ray Multi-Mirror satellite (XMM) and a component module based on the ONERA EXEQ experiment.  The instrument measures electrons (>0.1 MeV), protons (>4 MeV), and heavy ions (1-100 MeV/mg/cm2) with high spectral resolution. The weight of SPICA is 3 kg, power consumption 6-7 W, and volume 4 litres. Data from this instrument will complement in energy and direction those from the two SREM units. 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Didier Falguere (ONERA/DESP)




The Proton and Dose-Depth Monitors (PM and DDM) are designed and constructed by Thomson & Nielsen Electronics Ltd (TN). The PM is designed for proton-induced Single Event Upset (SEU) detection from protons > 30 MeV. The DDM measures total ionising radiation doses behind four different thicknesses of aluminum representing spacecraft shielding. The first versions of these instruments will fly on the STRV 1-c satellite.  The radiation response of each instrument is available in real time.  The mass of the PM is 0.3 kg, power consumption 0.4W, and volume ~ 0.3 litres.  The mass of the DDM is 0.5 kg, power consumption 0.9 W and volume ~ 0.4 litres. 

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Ian Thomson (TN)



The Columbus Technology Test-Bed (CTTB) is intended to carry a number of experiments ranging from Commercial Off-The-Shelf digital and analogue components to photonics components. The CTTB infrastructure (i.e. the way it support the sub-experiments it contains) and the overall CREEP infrastructure share many common requirements, so the CREEP and CTTB data handling functions might be common. 

Principal Investigator: A. Mohammadzadeh (ESA)


Ground based investigations

Additionally, ground-based investigations are a crucial element of the CREEP experiment. These will include:

  • Calibration and ground testing of both the sub-experiments and the assembled configuration, including ground testing of technology test items. These will be performed in the Proton Irradiation Facility (PIF) of PSI (CH), in the Heavy Ion Irradiation Facility (HIF) of the university of Louvain-la-Neuve (B), and elsewhere;
  • Data analysis, possible establishment of a data centre;
  • Modelling efforts, to be pursued by the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), who have extensive exprience from earlier research projects, such as the ESA-sponsored SPace ENVironments Information System (SPENVIS) and Trapped Radiation ENvironment Development (TREND) projects. Contact person at BIRA-IASB is Professor Joseph Lemaire.
  • Coordination and data sharing with other radiation experiments onboard ISS (e.g. DERA intends to monitor the radiation environment inside the Space Station).
  • Coordination and communication with other radiation-related missions.

P. Nieminen (TEC-EES); 12 January 1999