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The Phino Instrument on the BRIK II mission generates promising first results

 The months after the launch of the first Dutch military nanosatellite BRIKII in June last year were very exciting. The first signals showed that the satellite works. Quickly after that, the Phino instrument performed its first measurements with a test source on the ground, and with success: the instrument works perfectly! A lot of follow-up measurements have been conducted to improve the settings and to gain knowledge of its behaviour in space. Next goal is to optimise the measurements even more for a higher accuracy of the geolocation of the sources.

Picture: Illustration of BRIKII satellite with Phino instrument on board


Mini Mechanically pumped fluid loop (mini-MPL) for standardized CubeSat thermal control

Last months NLR has been designing a high performance, light-weight, versatile miniature heat exchanger for the mini-Mechanically pumped fluid loop (mini-MPL), a standardized CubeSat thermal control unit. The mini-MPL can dissipate heat loads from various components of the CubeSat such as high power electronics. The miniature heat exchanger has been designed with flexibility and scalability in mind and is intended for single-phase use. This design will be used in the engineering model of the mini-MPL during the ESA GSTP project in which NLR cooperates with Demcon and ISIS. The preliminary design of the mini-MPL is expected this summer.

Picture: Miniature heat exchangers; the smooth surface is the contact area of 20mm x 20mm. The total mass of a single heat exchanger is 7 gram.

SBIR Studies

Royal NLR has participated recently in several studies of the SBIR ‘Technology development for space infrastructure’ call. NLR cooperated amongst others with Dawn Aerospace and Technolution Advance in the following projects:

  1. Dawn Aerospace and NLR MAMTeC carried out a feasibility study into medium-sized satellite propulsion systems, produced with metal Additive Manufacturing (AM). This work was done in the context of the SBIR “Technology development for space infrastructure” call. The study included the design, process selection and was successfully concluded with material tests to investigate the suitability of printed material. Based on the results, a business case and project plan was made for demonstration of the concept in a next phase.
  1. NLR worked with Technolution Advance on the development of an Instrument Control and Data Processing Unit (CDPU). For this CDPU development a feasibility study by Technolution and NLR was conducted which resulted in a positive view on the technical and economic feasibility of this space product. To investigate key requirements and to get a good view on the market perspective, several interviews with potential stakeholders inside the Netherlands and abroad were performed. The CDPU is considered as an important product to improve the Dutch position within the global SmallSat market.

Data portal for the Sentinel 5P Product Algorithm Laboratory is live

S5P-PAL is the Product Algorithm Laboratory for Sentinel-5P, one of the Copernicus Sentinel missions. It is a cloud environment service created by Science & Technology (S&T) and funded by the European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA). Developers of S5P data processors (the atmospheric science community like KNMI, BIRA-IASB, DLR, etc.) can test their software and have it qualified (by S&T) before eventual operational deployment.

We would like to share that in December, S&T got an extension of the original PAL contract. As part of this extension the service now also supports (pre-)operational data-driven processing, i.e. not reprocessing fixed time spans of archived data, but immediately processing live satellite data as it comes in, orbit by orbit.

A second major feature is that we went live with the S5P-PAL Data Portal (include link: ), a public website where anybody can freely download the product files resulting from processing done in PAL. We are for instance hosting three years of TROPOMI NO2 data reprocessed by the latest version of the KNMI L2 processor and more products are in the pipeline. In less than three months since December people from all over the world have already downloaded more than 515,000 files from our portal, which totals to just over 275 TB!

Soon, the NO2 maps on the Copernicus Sentinel-5P Mapping Portal (include link:, which is a component of the S5P-PAL service, will be updated to include the results of the reprocessed NO2 data.

Special Network and Drinks for everyone interested in Space

Every last Thursday of the month at 17:00 CET we host a special Network and Drinks for everyone interested in Space, together with multiple partners such as SpaceNed. Multiple start-ups and innovative companies pitch their potential and ideas, and visitors can grow their network. You are invited for our monthly networking event to expand your network, meet potential cooperation partners, hear about new initiatives, make and renew connections. An informal gathering with pitches from start-ups and innovativecompanies, and opportunities to connect and meet with new people.

The focus of this month's Network&Drinks will be GNSS, in line with the CubeSat Workshop that is happening at SBIC in the afternoon. You are welcome to invite anyone to the Network&Drinks who is interested in space and/or GNSS, wants to work with (companies in) Space/GNSS and/or wants to broaden their network in the area of Space/GNSS. Of course, this networking event is open and brings opportunities to everyone who is interested in Space. Do not hesitate to invite people who might benefit from it and bring your colleagues. We are looking forward to another great event where you will always leave with 1 new idea, 1 new contact and 1 new action! Register for N&D March 31 @SBIC.

Direct link to registration: