Projects and missions

Below is a list of current research projects at DTU Space.

ESA related missions and projects

In total we are engaged in about 45 missions and projects related to ESA. Our ESA related activities cover Science & Exploration, Safety & Security, Applications, Enabling & Support.

A few key examples of DTU Space involvement:

  • Lead on Greenland Climate Change Initiative (CCI) and the CCI Sea Ice.
  • Visual Based Cameras for formation flight, debris detection, navigation - e.g. for Proba 3, CleanSpace, Athena.
  • SWARM. Scientific leadership of the satellite constellation mission measuring the Earth’s magnetic field.
  • James Webb Space Telescope/MIRI. Responsible for the delivery of the JWST MIRI Primary Support Structure.
  • DTU Space is establishing a center for Space Safety that will e.g. provide advice for authorities.
  • MOSAiC expedition. SMOS satellite ice thickness study with a radiometer on the Polarstern 2019-20.

Complete list of current projects with ESA and activities related to ESA


  • ATHENA. DTU Space contributions with the development of the X-ray optics, with design and development of the reflecting mirror coatings and with the development of an AIB for the ICPU of the WFI instrument.
  • Science grade Vector Magnetometers; ESA Swarm and family, Altius, Daedalus, Proba2.
  • Autonomous Star Trackers. Extremely robust operations. GOCE, Swarm, PROBA 1-4. Many future mission proposals.
  • Visual Based Cameras. Formation flight, debris detection, tracking, landing. Proba 3, CleanSpace, Athena, Interceptor.
  • STR/IMU/VBS/MAG data fusion; Proba3 + Many future mission proposals.
  • Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), MetOp-SG, CIMR, ITI.
  • Polaris (Polarimetric Airborne Radar Ice Sounder) for preparation and validation of Biomass.
  • ARIEL (Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey). An ESA M-class mission for launch in 2028. ARIEL will study what exoplanets are made of, how they formed and how they evolve.
  • EUCLID. DTU Space has contributed to the calibration facility for the NISP instrument at LAM, France. DTU Space has provided the 5 degrees of freedom mechanism to move the telescope into correct position for tests.
  • INTEGRAL. Launched in 2002, INTEGRAL holds two DTU Space PI led monitors JEM-X. The DTU Space team are monitoring the instruments’ performance and calibration and contribute to the science analysis software.
  • James Webb Space Telescope/MIRI. DTU Space has been responsible for the delivery of the JWST MIRI Primary Support Structure. We have been involved in defining the MIRI Deep Imaging Survey.
  • Black Struts. DTU Space is together with a Danish company designing carbon fibre reinforced plactic (CFRP). They have very low temperature/moisture expansion coefficients making them suitable for space applications.
  • LISA. DTU Space has in close collaboration with Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover developed a breadboard version of the LISA phasemeter able to meet the strong LISA requirements.
  • THESEUS (an ESA-M5 proposal); The Transient High-Energy Sky and Early Universe Surveyor (THESEUS) is a space mission concept currently under Phase A study in view of a launch opportunity in 2032.
  • eXTP. The enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry mission is a Chinese mission supported by European institutions designed to study the state of matter under extreme conditions of density, gravity and magnetism.
  • High Resolution 3D CZT detector development; For future gamma-ray imaging observatories: DTU Space developed 3D CZT detector technology is providing e.g. high efficiency photon-by photon detection.


  • ESA airborne polar campaigns– Greenland and Antarctica, validation of CryoSat, IceSat2, AltiKA, Sentinel-3, CIMR - close coordination with NASA IceBridge.
  • Antarctic Ice Sounding Experiment using ESA’s P-band polarimetric Sounder (IceGrav + EMMA).
  • IceSAR2012. Data acquisition campaign in Greenland with airborne SAR in support of objectives of Biomass.
  • MOSAiC campaign. SMOS satellite ice thickness assessment study with a radiometer on Polarstern.

Earth Observation

  • ASIM. The ASIM Science Data Centre supports the ASIM mission (ASIM is an instrument on ISS, made possible through the exploration programme) which is delivering high quality data about atmospheric discharges.
  • SWARM. Scientific leadership by DTU Space. The objective of the Swarm mission is to provide the best ever survey of the geomagnetic field and its temporal evolution. The mission was launched 2013 and is still active.
  • Lead of Greenland Climate Change Initiative, and member of Antarctica CCI and Sea Ice CCI – Earth Watch.
  • Climate Change Initiative, Sea ice.
  • GOCE-OGMOC, Optimal geoid model based on GRACE and GOCE.
  • Baltic Sea multimission sea level product. Provide consistent multimission sea level data product.
  • RACZIL, Radar altimetry for coastal/inland waters. Improve understanding of inland water and coastal zone.
  • Working with ESA GOCE mission data for global geoid models.
  • SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) follow on study.
  • AI4Arctic. Machine learning in sea ice charting.
  • InSARinSub (Integration of InSAR ground motion products with subsurface geotechnical models).
  • PHAB-IV (Phase-based Sentinel-1 Ice Velocity).
  • Biomass Secondary Objectives Assessment Study.


  • Research and development of algorithms and technology for improved and robust GNSS-based positioning and navigation with main applications areas being drones (UAV) and robots.
  • Testbed in Aarhus for Precision Positioning and Autonomous Systems (TAPAS).
  • ESA support from the ESA NAVISP Element 3 program for the DANGO project (Danish National Galileo Overlay) which aims at an advanced user uptake of the Galileo High Accuracy Service (HAS).
  • Developing methods for GNSS-based monitoring of activities in Earth’s ionosphere related to space weather.
  • Development and maintenance of a network of GNSS stations in Greenland (GNET).
  • Biomass External Calibration Study.


  • Space Weather. Forecasting geomagnetic storms ‘the next 24h’. Funding is through ESA-SSA program. Part of Heliospheric Expert Service Center (AWARE) and the Geomagnetic Expert Service Center.
  • Space Safety. DTU Space is establishing a center for Space Safety. The center will coordinate, facilitate and develop scientific activities, projects, educational activities and provide advice for authorities.