SpaceNed verbindt
de Nederlandse ruimtevaartsector

Lens R&D has made some major steps forward - 6 Bison64-ET-B flight units

Lens R&D has made some major steps forward recently with the delivery of 6 BiSon64-ET-B flight units for the SSTL Lunar Pathfinder mission.

The sensors ordered by CNES to be used on the MMX rover (going to Phobos, one of the moons of Mars) have been tested completely and are awaiting final calibration and DRB.

A series of 100 MAUS cubesat Sunsenors is under production and the first units have already been assembled and are awaiting final calibration before delivery to ISISpace.

These are the first units assembled using the new radiation hardened photodiodes that have been designed for Lens R&D.

The new diodes have been qualification tested up to 8E14 1MeV electrons (equivalent to 19.2Mrad TID and 25 MeV/g TNID) next to passing a 1000h HALT test at +125°C

As a consequence the diodes are now fully qualified according to ESA standards and acceptable for ESA projects.

In order to be able to use the sensors as coarse sensors as well (as foreseen on the Proba-3 satellite for a number of units) it has been agreed to perform temperature coefficient measurements on several units so as to increase the knowledge about these devices beyond what is needed for nominal operation.

Last but not least, Lens R&D is 3rd place winner of the ESA Global Space Markets Challenge and will therefore be present at the IAC in Dubai.

ESA - ESA announces winners of the Global Space Markets Challenge

Dawn Aerospace completes first flights of Mk-II suborbital spaceplane

Dawn Aerospace, a New Zealand-Dutch space transportation company, has conducted five flights of the company’s Mk-II Aurora suborbital spaceplane. The flights were to assess the airframe and avionics of the vehicle, and were conducted using surrogate jet engines. 

The campaign was run from Glentanner Aerodrome in New Zealand’s South Island. Taxi testing commenced in early July and five flights occurred between the 28th and 30th of July, reaching altitudes of 3,400 feet.

Dawn is creating reusable and sustainable space technologies – suborbital and orbital rocket-powered planes – that operate much like a fleet of aircraft, taking off and landing horizontally at airports.

Mk-II is a suborbital plane designed to fly 100 km above the Earth, and aims to be the first vehicle to access space multiple times per day. The vehicle serves as a technology demonstrator for the two-stage-to-orbit-vehicle, the Mk-III. Mk-II will also be used to capture atmospheric data used for weather and climate modelling, and to conduct scientific research and technology demonstrations.

“Dawn are focussed on sustainable and scalable access to space and our Mk-II vehicle is entirely reusable,” said Stefan Powell, CEO. “The team have successfully captured extensive data enabling further R&D on the capability of Mk-II. I’m hugely proud of our engineering team for designing and building a vehicle that flies beautifully first time and just as predicted. We are delighted with the results and demonstrating rapid turnaround – we conducted five flights within three days, and two flights occurred within ninety minutes of each other.”

On December 9 2020, Dawn announced the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had granted Dawn a certificate to fly Mk-II Aurora spaceplane from a conventional airport without exclusive airspace restrictions.

“We were successful in demonstrating our ability to integrate with other airspace operators,” said Powell. “Fixed-wing aircraft and local helicopter companies continued their operations unaffected. It’s fantastic being part of the Glentanner Aerodrome community.”

Dawn tests various vehicles and systems in a number of locations across New Zealand’s South Island, and has agreements in place with a number of potential launch locations globally – the view is to one-day emulate the aviation-industry’s model and, in doing so, provide unprecedented access to space; operating globally with key hubs across the world.

“Viewing opportunities will be publicly notified in future, but for now we’re allowing our operational team to focus on the important task at hand,” said Powell.

Initial testing was conducted using surrogate jet engines. The Mk-II will be fitted with a rocket engine which is already in the later stages of testing. This will unlock higher performance for supersonic and high-altitude testing of the vehicle.

These 7 new space related startups joined the ESA BIC Noordwijk incubation programme

The Dutch business incubation programme of the European Space Agency, ESA BIC Noordwijk, has welcomed seven new startups. In this programme, entrepreneurs will work with space related technologies to create impact on earth – and beyond.

Within two years a prototype will be ready or a market introduction will have taken place. In this programme space startups get up to 50.000 euro zero-equity funding for the development of their idea, receive technical support by the European Space Agency and partners, and get extensive business support by the Space Business Innovation Centre in Noordwijk.

Meet the new space related startups

The 7 new businesses entering incubation in Noordwijk, in random order, are:

Agtuall, Carble, HeliuSpace, Reef Support, Shore Systems, Soilspect and Parsec Timing

"The next opportunity to build a space related business is just around the corner. Join the startup programme of the European Space Agency, ESA BIC Noordwijk, and get technical, business and financial support. Apply before October 12, 2021 via"

ESA BIC Noordwijk is the business programme of the European Space Agency in the Netherlands. It offers technical, business and financial support to startups that use space technology for terrestrial applications.

ESA BIC Noordwijk is part of a network of more than 20 (and counting) ESA BICs across Europe, which were established to empower entrepreneurship and to allow local economies to benefit from space data and technologies. The Noordwijk location was the first BIC to be launched. It’s thé entrepreneurial hub for commercialisation of space technology in The Netherlands.

Webinar series in October and November focused on Horizon Europe calls













On behalf of NSO, Groundstation.Space organizes a webinar series in October and November focused on Horizon Europe calls relevant for the Dutch space sector. Join the webinar(s) to find out more and get in touch with potential consortium partners! Register for the first webinar on the 7th of October, focusing on opportunities offered by satellite navigation, through more about these great (new) business opportunities, find potential consortium partners and find out about the dotSPACE services for writing successful proposals!

The first of these webinars will be on 7 October 2021, from 16:00 to 17:00 CET.

This webinar will focus on the opportunities of satellite navigation based on Galileo and EGNOS. We will specifically zoom in on collaboration opportunities between Dutch and European space organisations.

The three subsequent webinars will be on:

  • Wednesday 13 October 2021 (Earth Observation and Copernicus)
  • Monday 25 October 2021 (Govsatcom, Quantum Technologies, AI)
  • Monday 1 November 2021 (Finding collaboration opportunities)

New thermal vacuum chamber at NLR

In 2020, NLR has designed and installed a second thermal vacuum chamber. The new chamber will serve along the already-existing chamber. However, due to its smaller volume, this new chamber is excellently suited for CubeSats and quick thermal tests, like a thermal bake-out, thermal cycling and thermal balance test.

Thermal verification of CubeSat designs

After completion, the chamber has already served as test environment in two recent projects. Together with ISIS, NLR has performed CubeSat thermal verification tests, in order to verify ESATAN-TMS simulations with actual test data. Findings of the project were summarized in a recent publication by ISIS and NLR at the ICES conference: “Thermal Analysis and Verification of CubeSat Designs with ESATAN-TMS”, Te Nijenhuis, Brouwer et al., International Conference for Environmental Systems, 104, 2021.

Thermal characterization of piezo actuators for space application

The second set of tests performed in the NLR’s new thermal vacuum chamber are the tests performed by TU Delft and NLR. Goal of the tests was the thermal characterization of piezo actuators that can be used for deformation and positioning of mirrors in space. The power dissipation of the piezo actuator was measured, and will serve as an input for thermal models of satellite (sub)systems. With this improved knowledge of the thermal performance of the piezo, measures can be applied to limit the leakage from dissipated heat to the optics elements on the satellite.