Groups and thematic lines
Space and ground systems and technologies
Thematic line

PI: Manuel Abreu

Space sciences are served by space platforms and ground infrastructures alike. Platforms, infrastructures and instruments rely upon a plethora of technologies. Instruments, which are more closely related to the astronomy agenda, are complex and integrated technological systems and do comprise their own data reduction subsystems, strongly dependent on instrument hardware and technology - this complete integration is the new instrumentation paradigm of the 21st century, fully endorsed by IA.

The Space and Ground Systems and Technologies Thematic Line will address challenges associated to technology development for instrumentation and for space and ground systems, in the context of international consortia, ESO and ESA, national space agencies and areas of the space program of the EU Horizon 2020. Participation is feasible in several development phases, from scientific concepts and architecture to integration, testing and delivery, and also including the development of data pipelines. Software for data reduction is now inseparable from instrument / mission / infrastructure. ESO recent and upcoming instrumentation considers the pipeline as a part of the instrument, to be developed in parallel. The pipeline will therefore perform the low-level manipulations common for all the uses of the instrument and is completely defined by its hardware properties.

In the last few years, we have been very successful in participating in the definition of the scientific case of several missions and infrastructures from the very beginning, therefore creating simultaneously a niche for science and a niche for technology or instrument development. Nevertheless, in what concerns systems and technologies (for space and ground alike), we must identify innovative solutions which may find their way to solve the problems of tomorrow. For the next cycles of cooperative development the main challenges we will tackle are as follows:

  • Reconfigurable systems, accounting for sensor instabilities / misalignments / system perturbations affecting data quality, through active / adaptive subsystems
  • Multi-body architectures: multiple aperture telescopes (MAT), constellations of Free Flying (FF) satellites, dynamical control and equilibrium
  • High precision metrology using (networks of) optical sensors (e.g. for high performance instruments, MAT, FF) in space and ground
  • Micro-Optical-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MOEMS) and their effects on instrument architecture and performances
  • Data Reduction Technologies
Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia