DESIRE RadVis is a tool that displays predictions, created using the Geant4-based DESIRE system, for rapid assessment and visualisation of radiation flux and dose levels for space environments. It is intended primarily for use by space engineers, doctors and scientists, but it can also be used to display measured data and to enhance the radiation awareness of astronauts and ground personnel.

Louka, Michael

Deputy Head of Department / Principal Scientist


Download Brochure: DESIRE RadVis (PDF, Acrobat 4.x or higher)


thumb.jpgCosmic radiation permeates space, with sources located primarily outside our solar system. However, the sun is also a source of significant amounts of ionised radiation, reaching extreme levels during solar flares. Astronauts and equipment outside the protection of the earth’s atmosphere are therefore at risk of exposure to severe radiation environments.

Of particular interest is being able to provide an overview of a radiation environment rapidly and effectively, which may be a predicted environment or one based on measurements from radiation sensors. The purpose of a visual overview is to enable users to rapidly assess a situation to provide better understanding of it, for design, training, or operations purposes. For example, providing astronauts with greater awareness of the shielding characteristics of a spacecraft under certain conditions can provide knowledge that astronauts can apply to limit their own exposure to radiation by avoiding areas where they know they are likely to receive the highest doses.

The Concept

thumb2.jpgThe European Space Agency's DESIRE (Dose Estimation by Simulation of the International space station Radiation Environment) project aims at accurate predictions of radiation fluxes inside the ESA Columbus module of the International Space Station.

DESIRE RadVis can be used to visualise radiation flux and dose data resulting from the DESIRE project. The software presents the user with an interactive three-dimensional virtual environment that combines a visually realistic model of the ESA Columbus module with 3D visualisation of radiation flux and dose levels in and around the module. It also calculates and displays the total combined dose contributions of the input data.

Intended users are scientists, doctors, and space engineers. RadVis presents the user with an interactive 3D virtual environment, and provides a rapid, easily comprehensible, visual overview of the results. Its purpose is to support rapid assessment of radiation environments, and to enhance the radiation awareness of ground personnel and astronauts.

Radiation flux and dose data visualised using the DESIRE RadVis software are produced by DESIRE. The RadVis software does not make predictions about radiation flux or dose itself, with the exception of the calculation of total effective dose, based on the input data from DESIRE.

RadVis has been designed primarily for use on desktop PCs, but will also support stereoscopic rendering on more exotic display systems and using other operating systems. It has been developed using Java(tm) and Java3D technology.


This project has been carried out by IFE for the Space Environments and Effects Section at ESTEC, as ESA ESTEC Contract 17494/03/NL/LvH/jd. It is funded by the ESA General Studies Programme.

The agency's technical representative for this project has been Petteri Nieminen.


Please direct any questions about this project to the project manager Michael Louka.


These are links to this project's affiliates and sponsors:

DESIRE RadVis supports ISO VRML 97 and X3D geometry. For more information on these file formats and the libary used to read them see: