The Phalanx project is creating a framework to optimize radiation shielding for spacecraft and satellites. Current techniques for shielding rely on the aluminum required for structural support of the vehicle as well as panels of aluminum and polyethylene added as needed. Shielding is limited by mass and volume restrictions of the vehicle. Proposed upcoming space missions will be longer in duration and farther away from Earth. This emphasizes the need for a method to distribute shielding materials in the most effective locations, as well as incorporating other materials into a shielding profile. This framework will combine an optimization algorithm with a generative model to help reduce the computational resources required. The optimization will be done by a genetic algorithm. These algorithms are based on a ‘survival of the fittest’ approach, such as observed in nature through evolution. To do this a population of shielding profiles is created, where each individual is a unique shielding solution. The highest performing profiles are selected as the ‘parents’ and are combined to create a new generation of shielding profiles. This allows the best shielding traits to be passed down to the next generation. This process continues until the desired goals are reached. A generative model will be trained on the highest performing plans from each generation. This will be used to create unique, high performing shielding profiles. These new profiles will be inserted into the population at specified generations to ensure diversity is maintained and avoid the algorithm getting trapped in a local minimum.
Figure 1: Concept of Shielding Optimization For a Satellite. Left, a 3D grid of voxel volumes generated. Center, random grid of desired shielding materials is then generated, filling the satellite volume surrounding the hardware. Different materials are represented by the colors, dark blue, dark and light green, and yellow. Right, using topology optimization, new plans are generated by randomly changing the material of some of the voxels based on the dose deposition resulting from cosmic rays is then scored in the sensitive hardware volume