On demand access to space radiation models


what is space radiation?

Space has a hostile radiation environment that increases the risk of cancers in humans and malfunctions in spacecraft electronics. The types of space radiation of primary concern are:

  • Galactic Cosmic Rays from outside our solar system generated by supernovae and other phenomena;
  • Solar Energetic Particles produced by the Sun during intense and sporadic bursts of activity; and
  • Trapped Radiation: energetic particles confined by Earth's magnetic field, usually comprising an inner belt of mostly high energy protons and an outer belt dominated by lower energy electrons and plasma.

Understanding the space radiation environment for a particular mission profile is becoming increasingly important. Commercial off-the-shelf electronic components that aren't resilient to space radiation are now prevalent. Longer duration missions to cislunar space, Mars, and beyond are placing astronauts at greater risk of radiation exposure.

AE9/AP9/SPM models

The AE9/AP9/SPM radiation belt and space plasma specification models were developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in collaboration with industry partners. They provide estimates of energetic particle flux along with uncertainties as percentiles.

Our Space Radiation API provides on-demand access to the AE9/AP9/SPM models, calculating omnidirectional flux at a point in a number of coordinate systems.

Up to 10k calls per month are free. Contact us for unlimited commercial use covered by a Service Level Agreement.

Try the API here.

Image credit: NASA/JPL


The Van Allen Probes (VAP) were two craft that were launched into highly elliptical orbits to study the composition, energies, and the dynamic nature of Earth's trapped radiation. Learn more about the VAP radiation sensors here.

See below for an interactive visualisation of the omnidirectional proton and electron flux as measured by sensors on board Van Allen Probe A, and as predicted by the AE9 and AP9 models of trapped radiation accessed through our API. View on mobile and smaller screens here.

We acknowledge G. Reeves and the ECT team for use of the sensor data. See here and here for technical details of the MagEIS and REPT sensors, respectively. Further validation studies are available on the AFRL website

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