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SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research
Ruimteonderzoeksinstituut SRON
SRON, Leiden; 2021
Agency overview
Formed1983; 41 years ago (1983)
TypeSpace agency
AdministratorMichael Wise (Scientific Director)
Employees250 Edit this at Wikidata

SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) is a national Dutch institute for space research. It develops and uses innovative technology for analysis in space, focusing on astrophysical research, Earth observation, and exoplanetary research. SRON research includes new and more advanced sensors for X-rays, infrared radiation, and visible light.

SRON was founded in 1983 under the name Stichting Ruimteonderzoek Nederland (SRON; lit. transl. Foundation Space-research Netherlands) as part of the Dutch Research Council (NWO), consisting of space labs in Leiden, Utrecht and Groningen. Later, the Leiden lab merged with the Utrecht location. By 2005, this institute was renamed SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research. In 2021 the Utrecht lab relocated back to Leiden. Since then, SRON has been headquartered in Leiden with additional facilities in the city of Groningen.

Science and technology

The institute has over 250 staff members who are employed in four program lines—Astrophysics, Earth observation, Exoplanets, Technology––and two expertise groups––Engineering and Instrument science.


SRON's mission 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 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's atmosphere (SCIAMACHY/ENVISAT and TROPOMI). The institute is also working on missions that will study other planets beyond the Solar System. Examples of future missions to which SRON will contribute to are Athena (X-ray), LISA (gravitational waves), PLATO (exoplanets), GUSTO (infrared) and PACE (Earth observation).

Missions and projects

Current missions or projects with SRON contribution

SRON instruments are named in parentheses.

Previous missions/projects

Technology development

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 wavelengths, 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 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 and 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 is developing a new generation of detectors and the necessary read-out and control electronics for international missions in the sub-millimeter and far-infrared areas. For example, SRON is developing Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KID) for research in visible light (exoplanets) and far-infrared (star-forming clouds). For the Athena mission, SRON is working on Transition Edge Sensors (TES).

National and international partners

In the Netherlands, SRON contributed to the Utrecht University research on atmospheric methane levels.[1]

SRON international partners include European Space Agency and NASA. Notably, SRON has cooperated with the German Aerospace Center (DLR),[2] contributed to the James Webb Space Telescope program[3] and GUSTO (telescope) project.[4]


See also


  1. ^ "Breakthrough in debate on recent increase in atmospheric methane - News - Utrecht University". Utrecht University. 2017-12-20. Retrieved 2024-02-25.
  2. ^ Hoogeveen, R. W. M.; Yagoubov, P. A.; de Lange, A.; Selig, A. M.; Koshelets, V. P.; Ellison, B. N.; Birk, M. (October 2005). Meynart, Roland; Neeck, Steven P.; Shimoda, Haruhisa (eds.). "Superconducting integrated receiver development for TELIS". Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites IX. Proceedings of the SPIE. Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites IX. 5978: 440–450. Bibcode:2005SPIE.5978..440H. doi:10.1117/12.627660. S2CID 55409308. TELIS (TErahertz and submm LImb Sounder) is a cooperation between European institutes, DLR, RAL, and SRON, to build a three-channel balloon-borne heterodyne spectrometer for atmospheric research.
  3. ^ "Institutional Partners Webb/NASA". Retrieved 2024-02-25.
  4. ^ "GUSTO arrived on Antarctica". TU Delft. Retrieved 2024-02-25.
  5. ^ " JAM Bleeker" (in Dutch). Netherlands Institute for Space Research. Retrieved 13 May 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Algemeen directeur Karel Wakker verlaat SRON" (in Dutch). Netherlands Institute for Space Research. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  7. ^ "New directorate at space research institute SRON". Netherlands Institute for Space Research. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Michael Wise new Director General at SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research". Dutch Research Council (NWO). 20 November 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2023.