Protection from cosmic radiation – German-Israeli space cooperation

03 February 2017

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  • MATROSHKA im Einsatz
    MATROSHKA human phantom in operation

    The MATROSHKA human phantom is used to measure radiation exposure. The four versions shown here represent (from left to right): an upper body designed to replicate the human form without 'clothing'; wearing a poncho and cap; enclosed within a carbon fibre container to simulate the protective effect of a spacesuit; covered with thermal insulation.

  • DLR und ISA unterzeichnen das Memorandum of Understanding
    ISA and DLR sign the Memorandum of Understanding

    Peretz Vazan (left), Director General of the Israel Ministry of Science, Technology and Space (MOST) and Hubert Reile, Programme Director for Space Research and Technology at DLR, sign the agreement.

  • Gruppenbild aller Beteiligter von ISA und DLR
    Group photo with all the participants from ISA and DLR

    From left to right: Oren Milstein; Peretz Vazan; Avi Blasberger; Hubert Reile; Sebastian Kleim; Ilana Lowi, Director, Division for International Relations at Ministry of Science and Technology, Israel; Shani Edri, Division of International Relations, MOST, Shmaryahu Aviad.

  • Das zusätzliche Crew%2dMitglied: Mit dem MATROSHKA%2dPhantom wird die Strahlung in der Internationalen Raumstation ISS gemessen
    The additional crew member: the MATROSHKA Human Phantom is already being used on the International Space Station (ISS) to measure radiation

    MATROSHKA's head and upper body are made of 33 discs in total. A human skeleton is located inside the torso, and these bone parts are cast in polyurethane to simulate the varying densities of human tissue.

ISA and DLR are cooperating in the development of a vest to protect astronauts from radiation.

On 31 January 2017, during the 12 International Ilan Ramon Space Conference, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Israeli Space Agency (ISA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote cooperation in the area of radiation protection for astronauts. The MoU was signed by Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board.

A radiation protection vest developed by the firm StemRad will be put through its paces during the test flight of the Orion space capsule, which is scheduled for 2018. During the unmanned flight, the vest will be worn by a doll developed by the DLR Institute of Space Medicine. Named 'Matroshka', the human phantom is made of a type of plastic with a density identical to that of human tissue. In addition to the bones, numerous devices fitted inside the doll that will measure radiation exposure in various parts of the body. A second – unprotected – 'Matroshka' will also be on board of the Orion spacecraft to determine the protective effects of the suit.

Oren Milstein, Chief Executive Officer of StemRad, developed this concept for radiation protection in response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It was originally designed as an extended belt for the lower abdomen, where most of the human bone marrow is located. "High-intensity ionised radiation destroys human bone marrow, which is essential for the production of blood. This leads to severe anaemia, infections and cancer," says Milstein. "Research has shown that protecting five percent of the bone marrow is enough to allow the blood to recover and regenerate."

The MoU between DLR and ISA was presented to Avi Blasberger, Director of the Israeli Space Agency, by Hubert Reile, Programme Director for Space Research and Technology at DLR.

Last modified:
07/02/2017 13:45:14



Andreas Schütz
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Corporate Communications, Spokesman

Tel.: +49 2203 601-2474

Fax: +49 2203 601-3249
Sebastian Kleim
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Strategy and International Relations

Tel.: +49 2203 601-4168