The Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) is the key center of expertise for aerospace technology in The Netherlands. NLR has two locations: Amsterdam and Marknesse. It employs around 700 people. NLR's clients include governmental authorities, large and small industries, and aerospace organizations - both in The Netherlands and abroad. NLR has a number of specialized research facilities such as wind tunnels, simulators and two laboratory aircraft.
NLR provides space technology, knowledge and expertise to governmental agencies in support of policy making. Space activities at NLR are linked to many national and international projects in the course of e.g. ESA programmes and national technology and application projects. NLR supports the Dutch industry and institutes with aerospace research activities both in the development of space infrastructure-related technology and in space applications. In the space application domain, NLR supports the Dutch user community and the value adding industry.
The current NLR R&D topics are in the field of space technology and space applications: system engineering, thermal systems, space qualified avionics, facilities for space subsystems, test&simulation, launchers structures, launchers modelling, space utilisation, satellite navigation, earth observation and geospatial data service center. NLR is pleased to give the reader more information on all these topics. Some expertise will be highlighted here.
The space technology activities include the development of space qualified equipment and operational support to space utilisation projects. The objective of space applications is to stimulate activities in the field of earth observation and navigation, including the ground segment. NLR has a broad knowledge in system engineering, including e.g. mission analysis, attitude control and cold gas propulsion. These capabilities were also applied in the Dutch small satellite Sloshsat FLEVO. NLR conducts research and test of thermal control systems e.g. on the development of capillary pumped cooling systems. New developments focus on e.g. micro-scale pumped cooling devices. Examples of space electronics projects range from SAR data compression for ESA Sentinel 1 to multiple board assemblies for various space applications. NLR operates different facilities such as clean rooms and facilities for environmental testing.
In the area of test and simulation, NLR performed activities on the testing of AOCS systems for e.g. the satellites XMM-Newton, Integral and Herschel. Furthermore NLR contributes to many Galileo projects e.g. on system integration and verification. NLR uses tools for simulation and test like Eurosim in contracts on the ERA robotarm and many other space projects. In the field of space utilisation, NLR is involved in different projects concerning the use and operation of systems in the Space Station ISS. NLR developed a training facility for the astronauts to familiarize them with the complexities of the ERA robotarm. NLR developed also a facility and tools to assist astronauts in the operation of lab racks in ISS. NLR has extensive knowledge in the area of space structures on e.g. design methods, loads calculation, aerodynamics, materials qualification and wind tunnel models and testing.
NLR is involved in many satellite navigation projects on Galileo and GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems). NLR carried out projects on e.g. RAMS analyses (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Safety) and develops methods, techniques and tools to verify and validate the Galileo system. NLR aims for new activities GNSS-based products and services in the application domain. NLR has a long standing expertise in earth observation. NLR researches and develops image processing and analysis algorithms. NLR initiated the Geomatics Business Park (GBP), a co-location of several value adding industries. NLR is also developing a geospatial data service centre.