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Current projects

Controlled deployment of CubeSat booms

The deployable boom for the SEAM project was uncontrollably deployed by the stored strain energy. One way of controlling the deployment speed without a motor is to use shape memory polymers, cf. shape memory alloys. By heating a part of the boom to a temperature above the glass transition temperature, the deployment for the heated part can be initiated.


EO4SmartCities is a project within the Dragon 4 programme, a cooperation between ESA and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology during 2016-2020. The overall objective of this research is to develop EO-based urban information services to support smart cities and sustainable urbanization. 

The specific objectives are:

  • To develop novel methods for better characterization of spatiotemporal patterns of urbanization and assessment of urban capacity.
  • To explore advanced InSAR and Optical image processing technique for land surface classification and change detection.
  • To exemplify the smart city approach through Earth Observation in conjunction with GIS and urban models, in order to address two fundamental pillars of urban climate and environment:
    • Urban thermal environment, with emphasis to surface energy balance and the urban heat island, the presence and spatial distribution of thermal hot spots and energy efficiency at the district level.
    • Urban hydrology, with emphasis to urban flooding and subside.

ESA Cluster mission

The four Cluster satellites were sent up in the year 2000 and still deliver excellent scientific data. KTH has contributed detectors for measuring electric fields and waves (EFW) as well as holding the Scandinavian data centre for analysis and diffusion of EFW data. Data recording will continue at least during 2018, possibly until the end of 2020. More than 2,400 publications of Cluster results have been made, of which 250 derive from the EFW team.

ESA JUICE, Jupiter Icy moon Explorer

KTH participates in a group which will measure electrical fields and plasma waves around Jupiter’s moons. KTH is contributing a ground control apparatus as well as thermal analysis for the mission. The launch is planned for 2022.

ESA Rosetta mission

KTH designed and built the DC-DC converters required by the sensor units for the Langmuir probe on Rosetta, which arrives at the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in May 2014. The landing of Philae on the comet surface in November 2014 was a huge success for ESA. The analysis of the data from the Rosetta mission is ongoing with many meetings scheduled during 2018.

ESA Solar Orbiter

KTH contributes with a ground control instrument to IRF Uppsala’s wave instrument on ESA Solar Orbiter.

ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission

KTH’s contribution takes the form of MEFISTO, an instrument to measure the electrical field, part of a larger instrument for field and wave measurements on the Mercury probe, Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter. This will transmit the first measurements ever of the electrical field around Mercury. The launch is planned for 2019.

EUSO (Extreme Universe Space Observatory)

An experiment for the International Space Station (ISS) to study extremely high energy cosmic particles (E>10^19 eV) through measuring the UV light that these generate in the atmosphere. Numerous feasibility studies are being carried out and planned, both from the ground, using balloons and using Mini-EUSO for ISS. A PhD student, Francesca Capel, was employed in September 2015 with funding from Stiftelsen Olle Engkvist Byggmästare. Her main work is with Mini-EUSO which will be sent to the ISS in 2018 in order to test the technology but also provide some science on light phenomenon in the atmosphere and meteors. 


This is a NASA-led international satellite project for studying high-energy cosmic radiation, above all gamma particles. Fermi was launched in 2008 and will be operational for many years ahead. KTH contributed to the development of the detector’s calorimeter and is now most active in analyses of “gamma-ray bursts” (GRB) and active galaxy nuclei (AGNs). KTH is currently leading the GRB analyzing team within the Fermi experiment.

Geographic Information Technologies for Disaster and Natural Resource Management in Moçambique

The project is funded by SIDA and carried out in collaboration with Lund University in Sweden, North West University in South Africa and Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in Moçambique. The aim of this project is to develop a new MSc program in Geographic Information Technology (GIT), cooperate on training for university staff in GIT and disaster management, and to increase the capacity at the target university to improve long term sustainable development in Mozambique. The Project duration is 2018 to 2023.


MISU leads the LEEWAVES (Local Excitation and Effects of Waves on Atmospheric Vertical Structure) project, which is the Swedish component of a larger collaboration led by DLR. The goal is to measure internal gravity waves in different layers of the atmosphere in order to understand their internal connections. KTH leads the sounding rocket element with one launch (on the same rocket as SPIDER) to eject falling spheres for data collection. The rocket was launched in February 2016 and analysis of the data is ongoing.

LEMON (Multispecies LIDAR for measurement of greenhouse gasses using space-born platform)

LEMON (LiDAR Emitter and Multispecies greenhouse gases Observation iNstrument) funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N° 82688. The project aims at developing laser differential absorption active sensor for simultaneous measurements of CO2, H2O, HDO and CH4 gas concentration distribution dynamics in the Earth’s atmosphere using satellite platform. These measurements are crucial for increasing accuracy of the global climate models. Laser emitter technology developed at KTH will be crucial for successful implementation of the instrument. The project will perform rigorous airborne measurement campaigns, space-flight certification of the instrument and will result in a proposal for a future space-borne mission.

MATS (Mesospheric waves from airglow transient signatures)

MISU leads this proposal to the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) within the new national small satellite programme, where the object of the research is to study wave movements in higher atmospheric layers fed in from light flashes generated at these heights. KTH contributes with electronics and geodynamics. SNSB decided in October 2014 to finance MATS as the first project under the new national program for small satellites. The launch of the satellite is planned for 2019.

MERiT (MEthane in Rocket nozzle cooling channels - conjugate heat Transfer measurements)

A propulsion system using hydrocarbons, liquid or hybrid, is a grand challenge for today’s rocket and space propulsion systems. As a consequence of the good performance in specific thrust in combination with operating benefits such as low toxicity, availability, storage stability and low production cost, liquid biogas/natural gas (LNG) with a high content of methane is one of the most interesting future solutions as propellant for rocket engines with liquid fuel. A high heat flux thermal stability test rig for rocket nozzle cooling channels designed, built and operated at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). With the use of the test rig the industry and academia will be able develop necessary knowledge of the heat transfer characteristics and material influence at relevant operating conditions in order to maintain and gain new market shares in future rocket propulsion systems. In 2019 the test rig was installed with operating conditions of 200 bar and 1073K, with gas combustion. 


Development of large deployable antenna composed of a deployable ring structure, a triangular cable network and a radiofrequency-reflecting metallic mesh. Principal investigator for the ESA MESNET project is HPS GmbH in Munich.

MIST (MIniature STudent satellite)

MIST is a 3U CubeSat, primarily designed and tested by students working in small teams. The project was defined in 2014 and the work started on January 2015, the launch of the satellite will not occur before 2020. Six technical and scientific experiments will fly on the satellite, the experiments have been proposed from inside KTH and from two Swedish companies.

NASA MMS mission

KTH is participating in MMS (Magnetospheric Multi-Scale), a NASA project with four satellites for detailed studies of the magnetosphere field line connections. KTH contributes with all the electronics and mechanics for the instrument that measures electrical fields as well as for the low voltage power supply. The launch took place on the 12th of March 2015 from Cape Canaveral. More than 350 publications of MMS results have been made, of which 70 have contributions from the Department of Space and Plasma Physics at KTH.


KTH participates in the multinational PlanHab/FemHab studies which aimes to simulate future planetary habitats. Experiments are being performed to study the physiological effects – cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and metabolic – from being bedbound over a long period of time in combination with oxygen deficiency. KTH is also investigating the risk of decompression sickness during both long-term and repeated short exposures to lower pressure, studies relevant to future strategies for EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) in space. Another study focus on the biomechanical effects of resistance training using the ”Fly-wheel-dynamometer”, designed to counteract bone and muscle loss in microgravity.

Activities at SAPC


PoGO+ is a X-ray polarimeter optimised to observe celestial sources in the hard X-ray band (~20-120 keV). The mission is lead from KTH and is performed together with Japanese collaborators. PoGO+ was launched from Esrange, northern Sweden in summer 2016. The week-long flight was very successful and has resulted in new observations of the polarization of hard X-rays emitted by the Crab nebula/pulsar and the black-hole binary Cygnus X-1. 

Remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) for Rwanda

Collaboration with Lund University and the National University of Rwanda, funded by SIDA (Swedish International Development Agency), in order to develop a master's program in GIS and land management, and to train 4 research students in remote sensing and GIS for environmental modelling, land management and planning.


Small Explorer for Advanced Missions (SEAM)  is an EU FP7 project managed by KTH. This is the first satellite from KTH, a 3U CubeSat which shall perform scientific measurements of magnetic fields (both DC and AC). The satellite was lost in a launch failure of the Soyuz-Fregat rocket on the 28th of November 2017. The possibility to rebuild and launch the satellite is being investigated.


The overall objective is to develop innovative methods and algorithms using multi-temporal EO data from Sentinel-1A/-2A to monitor urban development on a global scale. Multi-temporal data means that one observes the same area on several occasions. The project will specifically contribute to:

  • Development of new robust methods and algorithms to obtain reliable data for planning decision-support regarding sustainable urban development.
  • A greater understanding of the significance of data from the Sentinel satellites for analysis, mapping and monitoring of urban development.

Funded by the Swedish National Space Agency during 2016-2019.

SPIDER sounding rocket

KTH leads this project, whereby 10 detectors shall be sent out from a sounding rocket in order to measure electrical and magnetic fields as well as plasma properties in the ionosphere’s sporadic E-layer. The goal is to study Farley-Buneman electrostatic turbulence in an aurora borealis or northern lights stream, at about 115 km height. SPIDER was launched on the 2nd of February 2016, and another version (SPIDER-2) was launched in February 2020.

SUPERHARD IC (Silicon Carbide Used in Potentially disruptive Emerging Radiation-HARDened Instrument Components)

The objective of the SUPERHARD IC project is to bring a radical new capability to the Swedish and European space sector in the manufacture of radiation hardened instrument components, with spin out applications to other harsh environment sectors, including aerospace, energy, industrial production and health, through the design, production and radiation testing of innovative new radiation-hardened SiC bipolar devices. These will include the key analog and digital building blocks necessary to construct mixed signal application-specific integrated circuits. The project is funded by the Swedish National Space Association 2017-2021.

Upgrading and Strengthening the University Wide GIS Centre

Funded by SIDA, in collaboration with Lund University and Makerere University in Uganda, the project aims to develop the existing GIS laboratory into a state of the art GIS laboratory by training, capacity building and renewal of personnel, spatial data, hardware and software. The Project duration is 2015 to 2020. 

Working on Venus

All the electronics required for a Venus lander shall be constructed and tested at 460 degrees centigrade. Silicon carbide is utilised for handling these temperatures while integrated circuits are manufactured in the Myfab KTH Electrum laboratory. The project is ongoing during the period 2014-2018, with funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. Sensors have been tested at temperatures up to 400 degrees and oven test have been performed on passive components. Radio circuits, image sensors, an innovative CMOS process, a first batch of two different 4-bit CPUs and a more advanced image sensor have been produced. The last year of the project is 2018 and many results and doctoral theses are to be expected during the spring 2019. A project proposal with the title ”Venus Long-Life Surface Package (VL2SP)” was sent to ESA 2016 and presented to the VEXAG group at NASA and at IAC 2017.

More information can be found on the website of the project: Working on Venus

X-Calibur and XL-Calibur

X(L)-Calibur is a balloon-borne hard X-ray polarimeter which uses a different instrument approach compared to PoGO+. A ~10 m long optical bench houses X-ray optics and a scattering polarimeter at the focal point. The optical bench is pointed with arcsecond accuracy. The XL-Calibur mission is a continuation of the X-Calibur mission which has conducted several test flights, culminating in observations of the accreting X-ray pulsar GX 301-2 during a flight on Antarctica in December 2018 which KTH participated in. XL-Calibur is a second-generation instrument which achieves approximately six times better sensitivity than X-Calibur. XL-Calibur will study a sample of archetypical X-ray sources (15-80 keV), including but not limited to, stellar mass black holes in X-ray binaries such as Cyg X-1 and GX 339-4, accretion and rotation powered neutron stars such as Her X-1, Vela X-1, GX 301-2, and the Crab, as well as a sample of flaring binaries.

Page responsible:Jahangir Jazayeri
Belongs to: KTH Space Center
Last changed: Mar 03, 2020