The space sector owes a lot to science. Much of the space technology that is needed to make a satellite mission successful is the result of scientific research. Conversely, science owes a lot to the space sector. Stronger still: in the early years, scientists were the driving force behind space activities. This was in part due to human curiosity. People wanted to explore the universe and find out what our place is within it.

A lot of space research can be carried out with observations from the Earth. However, some questions can be answered better with the help of observations from space. Space instruments can map the universe without the disruptive influence of the Earth's atmosphere. Satellite missions and space probes explore planets and other heavenly bodies in our solar system. Space missions provide unique insights into our cosmic back garden and the endless universe beyond it.

By focusing satellite instruments on the Earth instead, scientists can produce detailed maps of our vulnerable world. We are learning more and more about the ‘system Earth’ and the consequences of human actions for our delicate planet.

The space sector and science have always had close ties with each other. NSO brings the government, knowledge institutions and industry together with the aim of facilitating space research and its benefits for society. The priorities of scientific space research are established by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) based on the advice from the scientific community.