Netherlands Institute for Space Research

SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research is the Dutch expertise institute for space research. The Institute develops and uses innovative technology for analysis in space, focusing on astrophysical research, Earth science, and planetary research. SRON has a line of research into new and more sensitive sensors for X-rays and infrared radiation.

SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research
Ruimteonderzoeksinstituut SRON
Agency overview
TypeSpace agency
AdministratorMichael Wise (Scientific Director)
SRON, Leiden, Netherlands

SRON was founded in 1983 under the name Stichting Ruimteonderzoek Nederland or Space Research Organisation, Netherlands. SRON is a member institution of the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The Institute is headquartered in Leiden with additional facilities in the city of Groningen, Netherlands.

Science and technologyEdit

The institute has over 250 staff members who are employed in a support department and five divisions: High-Energy Astrophysics (HEA), Low-Energy Astrophysics (LEA), Earth and Planetary Science (EPS), Sensor Research and Technology (SR&T) and Engineering Division (ED).[citation needed]


SRON's ambition is to act as a leading institute in developing state-of-the-art satellite instruments for space research missions of ESA, NASA , and other agencies. Through the years, SRON technology has contributed to many ground-breaking space missions, mainly dedicated to mapping the infrared sky (e.g., IRAS, ISO, HIFI/Herschel), analyzing X-ray and gamma-ray sources (e.g., CGRO/COMPTEL, Beppo-SAX, Chandra, XMM-Newton) and studying the Earth atmosphere (SCIAMACHY/ENVISAT). Examples of future missions to which SRON will contribute are SPICA (infrared), ASTRO-H (X-ray), and Sentinel 5 Precursor (Earth atmosphere). The institute is also planning to contribute to missions that will study other planets in the Solar System and beyond.

Missions and projectsEdit

Current missions or projects with SRON contributionEdit

SRON instruments are in brackets.

Previous missions/projectsEdit

Technology developmentEdit

Optical photograph of a bolometer for SAFARI (detail); the shiny square is the superconducting TES thermometer, the large grey square is the Ta absorber. The ring-type structure is the SiN suspension, intended to produce a very weak coupling to the heat bath and thus a sensitive detector.

In various wavelength areas SRON's sensors are already some of the most sensitive in the world. However, SRON is continuously looking for new ways to deploy even more sensitive sensors for the improved detection of cosmic radiation or measurements of the atmosphere of the Earth and other planets. This requires long-term investments in the development of new sensors, electronics and specialist techniques. In the near future, detectors shall increasingly take the shape of large chips with many megapixels, with a unique combination of two-dimensional pictures and spectroscopy color resolving power.

These detectors require the development of new advanced electronics, smart control software, extreme cooling techniques and novel materials. SRON develops a new generation of detectors, and the necessary read-out and control electronics, for international missions in the submillimetre and far-infrared areas. For example, such extremely sensitive detectors are needed in SPICA/ SAFARI so that we can learn more about protoplanetary disks and the formation of planets. For SPICA/ SAFARI SRON is currently working on Transition Edge Sensors (TES).

National and international partnersEdit

SRON cooperates with scientists and with international organizations in bilateral, European or global projects[citation needed]. Within the Netherlands, these include universities in Utrecht, Groningen and Leiden[citation needed]. Outside the Netherlands, an example is the German Aerospace Center (DLR)[citation needed].


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Johan Bleeker (1942): Pionier en koersbepaler van het ruimteonderzoek" (in Dutch). Netherlands Institute for Space Research. Retrieved 26 June 2016.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Algemeen directeur Karel Wakker verlaat SRON" (in Dutch). Netherlands Institute for Space Research. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  3. ^ "New directorate at space research institute SRON". Netherlands Institute for Space Research. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Michael Wise new Director General at SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research". Dutch Research Council (NWO). 20 November 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2023.

External linksEdit