P19-13 Focus from Space

The Earth's natural systems are under increasing pressure. Their vulnerability has reached a broad public attention. Decision makers call for useful information to monitor ecosystems and critical infrastructure and assess security-relevant situations. Such information has a huge impact on societies. These needs can be addressed using spaceborne optical systems that characterize natural and human-induced systems and processes, such as air quality, on local, regional and global scales. Scattering and reflection of light provide fingerprints, which can be used for agriculture, forestry, infrastructure and disaster monitoring and object tracking. Laser satellite communication will increase data transmission capacity with a massive commercial impact. The Netherlands has an excellent international reputation in the development and usage of optical systems. The Tropomi instrument maps atmospheric gases to an unprecedented resolution. An entire value chain supports the up- and down-stream on national and European level. The program Focus from Space will link user needs to critical technology by further developing space optics to concrete products, applications and systems. It will do that following a multi-application cross-domain approach, focusing on remote sensing and telecommunication and enabling spin-in and spin-out of non-space players, such as aviation and information technology. Research on computational imaging, on-chip adaptive optics, noiseless single photon detectors and metasurfaces will contribute to the next generation of compact optical systems with high performance standards at low cost. This will be achieved by a multi-disciplinary team that integrates new optical fabrication, calibration, systems engineering, machine learning, data processing and control methodologies. The research topics are: - Optics for monitoring; - Optics for communication; - Innovative Optics within a System Focus from Space will increase the international competitiveness of Dutch companies and strengthen the knowledge sector on space optics and beyond. With its strong technological level and its creativity, it will address public, business and governmental needs alike.


Delft University of Technology (Prof. Dr. E.K.A. Gill) Eindhoven University of Technology SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)

Knowledge and Innovation Agenda

Key enabling technologies

Category key enabling technologies 1

Photonics and light technologies

Key enabling technology 1

Key enabling technologiesThis KET has an impact on almost all societal challenges. The Netherlands has a leading position in this domain, and specifically the examples mentioned in the KIA are addressed in this proposal and the research areas: telecommunication (Optics for communication), data processing (Optics for monitoring, Optics for communication) and sensors / monitoring (Optics for monitoring), which has a strong link to the HTSM roadmap. Thus photonics truly plays a role in the complete program and enables the creation of a set of complete new technologies for future use for observation and safe & stable communication around the globe. This again has a strong link with a Secure and Inclusive society.

Category key enabling technologies 2

Advanced Materials

Key enabling technology 2

In two of the research areas, materials play a fundamental role due to the application area: space. This required the most of materials, therefore in the work packages especially topics related to designer functional metamaterials and next-generation engineering materials. The results on these topics will have the potential to be reused in future missions and future products and systems.

Category key enabling technologies 3

Quantum technologies

Key enabling technology 3

For communication, security and speed of data processing is essential. We will deliver first results on quantum technologies for detection and communication methods, as well as its use for data processing power. Especially interesting is the fact that a full Dutch supply chain is vested in the consortium, making sure the valorisation of these unique results will generate new income for the Netherlands, ensuring it's leading position in the world. Additional Key Enabling Technology Item: Space Research: obviously the program addresses this KET. The program will deliver technologies which will be used in many future missions, since it will enable lighter, more stable and sustainable structures and materials. Furthermore, the lifespan of systems and components will be increased. The communication from and to satellites will be improved significantly which enables faster, better, data collection and -transport. This all together will enable space research to help us analyse, monitor and interpret the mechanisms for weather, climate and pollution, as well as the use of the outcomes for agro-, culture or health. But it also will make space research a key area for the next generation of safe, ultrafast, communication technologies.

Public meeting

TU Delft Campus, 2628 CD Delft


Prof. Dr. Eberhard Gill

E-mail address



Chairholder Space Systems Engineering (SSE), Head Department of Space Engineering (SpE), Director TU Delft, Space Institute, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Kluyverweg 1, 2629 HS Delft, The Netherlands