Space mission design

Space mission design research includes the design of all or parts of space missions. Typically in collaboration with international partners such as ESA and NASA. We provide interplanetary and planetary stellar magnetic measurement platforms and planetary lander systems and autonomy systems.

The research work includes the entire process from design, development and testing to the implementation of instruments for spacecraft and satellites. Among other things, the division develop and build unique camera systems for navigation and positioning of satellites and unmanned spacecraft for use on ESA and NASA missions.

An example of this is the ESA mission Swarm where DTU Space has a leading role in both the scientific and the technical part of the mission. Our work also includes controlling, maintain and updating space systems after they have been launched and commissioned in space.


  • For ESA’s Swarm mission - consisting of three formation flying satellites - we developed the mission concept and core instrumentation and delivered the star tracker and vector magnetometer complex, implemented and calibrated the star tracker systems and magnetometers.
  • DTU Space leads a part of the scientific work with this mission that is measuring the Earth Magnetic field with a very high degree of accuracy. This is an example of how we cover technology development and research from end to end, we designed the mission, build and implemented the instruments, and we use the data they collect for research and publication of scientific results.
  • Our contribution to NASA's JUNO mission is another example on our technical and scientific end to end capability.
    Apart from delivering the attitude recovery instrumentation and calibration technology for this mission, we have profiled the Interplanetary Dust from Earth to Jupiter, the energetic radiation, the planet figure, lightning and aurora phenomena and elevated atmospheric processes.
  • We also provide systems for NASA mission to Psyche that is to explore the metal asteroid (called Psyche) that orbits the sun. We develop, calibrate and deliver the vector gradiometer, core of the magnetic investigation of the Psyche mission. In this project we are cooperating with reputable universities, among them Yale, MIT and Caltech. 


This is just a few of the focus areas in the field of Space mission design research.

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