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Engineering for space aeronomy

To study the physics and chemistry of the Earth and planetary atmospheres and of the interplanetary space, ground-based, balloon, rocket and satellite instruments are used. Especially the remote sounding of the chemical composition of atmospheres using spectrometric methods from the ultraviolet to the infrared spectral range and from ground and space borne platforms is one of the main expertise fields.

The BIRA-IASB engineering team plays a major role to achieve the scientific goals. They are responsible for the design and manufacturing of the necessary instruments in collaboration with Belgian industrial partners and for the technical support of the scientists. Their know-how includes all the steps from an idea till a fully operational instrument.

Mechanical and electronical engineering
We are proud to present a new introductory film, in which the Royal Belgian Institute is being presented in all its facets. Discover the many fields of research and societal challenges in which the Institute is active.
Dr. Ir. Ann Carine Vandaele is the new Director General o the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy.
ESA, the European Space Agency, has downselected the shortlist for its next ‘medium’ science mission to three finalists: M-Matisse, Plasma Observatory and Theseus.
BIRA is working on an innovative optical system that will measure pollutant concentrations in ship plumes from a wind turbine in the North Sea.
On 13 April 2023, the ESA spacecraft JUICE will take off on board an Ariane 5 launcher from ESA’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana. After an 8-year-long journey, JUICE will investigate Jupiter and its icy moons, with a special focus on Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system.
September 2 marked the two-year anniversary of PICASSO’s launch, the first CubeSat mission of BIRA-IASB.
Comets contain contain organic material older than the solar system, as is shown by data gathered by the DFMS instrument, which flew on board the Rosetta spacecraft to study comet Chury. An instrument and discovery to which BIRA-IASB scientists and engineers have contributed.
The Space Pole in Uccle opens its doors to the public on September 24 and 25, 2022.
On June 22, 2022, our Institute will be hosting a networking event for space science and industry partners. This "Technology for Aeronomy" event aims to allow all participants to explore opportunities for collaborations in future space and Earth-based missions.
Two years after its launch, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) settles in its final orbit around Mars. The satellite carries the instrument NOMAD of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) on board.
BIRA-IASB is sending an instrument to Venus. The VenSpec-H instrument will fly with the EnVision mission, which has just been selected by ESA and is planned for launch in 2031-2032.
BIRA-IASB is preparing a new space instrument, 3DEES, in consortium with the Université Catholique de Louvain and QinetiQ Space, to study the Earth's space radiation environment on board ESA's PROBA-3 satellite.
A team of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy is working on the characterisation of a space instrument called MAJIS, for ESA's JUICE mission to the planet Jupiter and its icy moons.
Two Belgian CubeSats, PICASSO (from the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy) and SIMBA (from the Royal Meteorological Institute) were launched simultaneously with about 50 tiny satellites, on board Europe’s inaugural Vega SSMS flight.
Jurgen Vanhamel completed his PhD in a collaboration between BIRA-IASB and KU Leuven, and was partially based on the ALTIUS-project.
Picosatellite PICASSO, aimed at Earth observation and space science, the first CubeSat mission, was successfully integrated into its launch dispenser.
Space-based measurements indicate that Central Africa is a global hotspot of formaldehyde (H2CO).
Prestigious journal Nature publishes two papers describing the first results of the Belgian NOMAD instrument on board ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter.