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IMPACTA: Innovative Mechanically Pumped Loop for Active Antennas


NLR has made an complete design for a mechanically pumped loop to be able to cool Active Antennas as efficiently possible. This program is running under the Horizon 2020 program and consists of consortium of 6 partners, where NLR is responsible for the complete design, simulation and testing of the loop. The active antenna consists of more than 100 single heat sources in differing configuration while running in different modes; meaning a large flexibility is needed for the cooling system to prevent the antenna from overheating. The system is using two phase cooling; with a narrow temperature control and a large cooling capacity: in this case 10kW with a cooling system nominal power of less than 1.5%, (with a higher startup / shut down power needed). The loop is currently built by the Spanish consortium leader AVS according NLR’s design, and by doing so, assures Europe will have the knowledge and capability to be able to build these innovative cooling systems for these high power satellites in the future. NLR has made a big step in the electronical design; as this is an often overseen part of a stand alone cooling system. NLR has made a breadboard design, and made the software program flexible enough to adjust for future needs / clients. The system will be tested early 2022, and by doing so reached a TRL of 6.

BRIKII launch 30 June

30th of June the first Dutch military nanosatellite has been successfully launched to orbit with by Virgin Orbit. With this launch the Dutch Ministry of Defense (MoD) takes its first steps into the Space domain.

The satellite is a development of ISISpace, Royal NLR and TU Delft. NLR has developed an innovative payload for the satellite that can detect radio signals from space and locate the location of the source on the earth’s surface. ISISPACE is the designer and integrator of the nanosatellite.

NVIDIA GPU hardware accelerated Satellite SAR Processor enters MetaSensing Space product family

MetaSensing adds a state-of-the-art operational multimode Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) ground processor for satellite SAR sensors to its family of space products.

The SAR Processor, called MSSP after MetaSensing SAR Processor, is developed entirely inhouse by MetaSensing within the framework of their space activities which also includes the development of the high-resolution multimode phased-array X-band SAR payload (StarSAR-X), a realistic SAR simulator to generate training datasets for AI and database for Automatic Target Recognition (KAISAR) and an Electronic Corner Reflector for satellite InSAR applications (ECR-C). Read more .....

 NVIDIA GPU hardware accelerated Satellite SAR Processor enters MetaSensing Space product family (

Relocation SRON-Utrecht to BioScience Park in Leiden

SRON-Utrecht is currently moving into its new building at the BioScience Park in Leiden. Some laboratories are already furnished, while the last machines of others are still being packed in Utrecht. Meanwhile, the first employees can already consider Leiden as their permanent location. According to the planning, the office staff will be the last to make the definitive transfer in September.

The new building was designed by Ector Hoogstad Architecten and is being built by the MedizomZes/Kuijpers building consortium. The clean room is equipped with a low-vibration floor. The 5,000 cubic metres of concrete, 800 tonnes of reinforcement and 300 bored piles provide enough mass and stability to keep out almost any vibration.

Furthermore, the building is equipped with laboratories, technical areas with crane gantries, a characteristic atrium, grandstand stairs and an eye-catching facade. The building has been designed according to the standards of the sustainability hallmark BREEAM Excellent.

The relocation of SRON's head office from Utrecht to South-Holland will be accompanied by a broader collaboration between SRON, Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and various other knowledge partners, aimed at SRON's most important research programmes: astrophysics, exoplanetary research, earth science and technology development.


Falcon-9 Transporter 2 launched with 16 of our sun sensors on board - 15 MAUSes and 1 BiSon64-ET

The BiSon64-ET is the first sun sensor to be qualified for ESA in over 15 years.With a qualification temperature range of -125°C..+125°C it is the two-axis sun sensor with the widest temperature range in the world.The only radiation-hardened Solar Sensor using diodes developed in Europe and tested up to 4E14 1MeV electrons (at the reactor institute in Delft).The combination of temperature range and radiation hardness makes the sensors suitable for more than 25 years in a GEO stationary orbit while mounted on solar panels.

The BiSon64-ET (and its daffodilised brother the BiSon64-ET-B) are therefore unique products that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Based on this sensor, the MAUS was developed at the request of ISISpace (and some other serious small satellite builders).This sensor uses the same radiation-hardened diodes and sapphire windows and therefore has almost the same radiation resistance.Unlike the BiSon, the MAUS is based on a so-called nano-D connector as a result of which it has a lower mounting height and is therefore better suited for cubesats.

The combination of radiation-hardened diodes and a nano-D connector has led to the world's first radiation-hardened dual-axis cubesat sun sensor.Both products have now gone airborne for the first time which is truly unique.Furthermore, together with Systematic Design b.v. we have started the redesign of a special chip that should lead to a miniaturised digital sun sensor.The redesign was not necessary because the first design would not work, but because it contained a number of known weaknesses for cosmic rays due to the limited financial resources available. 

The evaluation of the first design by ESA was so good that there was no longer any doubt about the chosen working principle. Therefore, to avoid wasting money and to speed up the whole project, it was decided to start a redesign using all known techniques to improve the radiation hardness.If this development is successful (demonstrator expected end of 2022) then in all likelihood it will become the first commercially available small digital sun sensor worldwide.