SpaceLab – facilities for space instrumentation, design and qualification
The development, test and calibration of new technologies and sensors for space missions requires the accessibility of the appropriate high quality facilities.
A key to efficient use of existing test centres and optimised test procedures is to make these facilities open to external users.
Redundancy of test centres across Europe does not only imply successful, but also on time delivery of components, sensors and space instruments.
The Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) has been developing scientific payload for satellite, balloon and sounding rocket missions since the 1960’s.
Over the past decades several in-house facilities have been installed and maintained at IRF in Kiruna, to test, calibrate and qualify these payloads.
The existence and performance of these test-and calibration facilities have made it possible to develop, build, and deliver high performance space instrumentation, which today consists of a fleet of very successful scientific sensors made in Kiruna.
Current facilities operated at IRF Kiruna
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The future is bright
With space missions becoming more and more ambitious also the requirements for the payloads are changing. In addition, the available technologies for testing are also continuously advancing, allowing for more efficient and accurate testing.
IRF is currently carrying out a sound assessment of the needs and prospects for a future test-bed, specific for space and atmospheric instrumentation. The aim is to update current facilities and laboratories, and to also complement these with new testing facilities.
These renewals that are currently under consideration, would contribute to the space collective with services that particularly in Northern Europe are lacking to date, and to match and master new instrument requirements arising from technological and scientific advances.
For these ambitious plans of advancing space technology in Northern Europe, IRF teamed up with strong partners. Under the special direction of the space incubator projects RIT2021 space innovation and growth, and University of Vaasa Kvarken Eco Space, we will soon be ready to offer a broader spectrum of innovative space instrumentation development and test facilities.