TU Delft Space Institute

Spaceflight serves scientific, economic and societal needs. The TU Delft Space Institute contributes to the space sector with ground-breaking research. And since the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the institute demonstrates new techniques on missions in space. “Miniaturization is reshaping spaceflight”, says Eberhard Gill, director of TU Delft Space Institute. “By doing innovative interdisciplinary research our institute contributes to renewing spaceflight.” Sensing from Space, Distributed Space Systems and Space Robotics are the three focal themes of TU Delft Space Institute.

Sensing from Space
Sensing from Space is focused on improving remote sensing capabilities, the bedrock of many missions to space. Innovative sensor systems are crucial for observing the universe and monitoring our own planet. Read more

Distributed Space Systems
Sensing from Space intersects with the second theme, Distributed Space Systems, where multicomponent systems can form virtual instruments spread over several satellites. Navigation of constellations, and even swarms, is a challenging research area. TU Delft has all the necessary in-house expertise to do innovative research in this field. Read more

Space Robotics
Nowadays, the performance of small satellites is often severely limited by the lack of a propulsion system. The development of miniaturized propulsion systems is an important research topic within Space Robotics. Other topics are orbital servicing and space debris handling, as well as testing commercial devices under space condition. Read more

The TU Delft Space Institute is an open institute. The scientists collaborate with partners both from within and outside university. The research institute was founded in 2015. It is part of Delft University of Technology. Director Eberhard Gill: “It is a privilege to bundle the creative energy of all those great scientists, who do space research at TU Delft.” Read more

The mission of the TU Delft Space Institute is to bundle and create expertise on Space for local, regional and global impact on research, education and valorization. Our vision is to contribute to ground-breaking solutions to the Space sector to serve scientific, economic and societal needs.


The TU Delft Space Institute shall:
1. stimulate and jointly develop and conduct ground-breaking research on Space,
2. jointly demonstrate innovative systems in Space and realize valorization opportunities with Space and non-Space partners, and
3. increase the visibility and impact of Space expertise and activities at Delft University of Technology as a whole
4. stimulate and further develop education on Space.

The TU Delft Space Institute wants to be an open institute in facilitating internally and externally spin-in and spin-out with domains other than Space.


The TU Delft institute is headed by the Institute board (see below) which is composed of the six theme leaders and the director. The Institute Board comprises the theme leaders and representatives from the five faculties and will meet quarterly to discuss and decide on operational and strategic topics. The director reports to the Steering Board which is composed by the deans of the five faculties and a member of the TU Delft Executive Board. The director and institute board are supported by the institute secretary and advised by the Advisory board.

Institute Board

Prof. Dr. Eberhard Gill


Dr. Jian Rong Gao

Sensing from Space

Dr. Jian Guo

Distributed Space Systems

Dr. André Schiele

Space Robotics

Mariëlle Hoefakker

Institute secretary

Dr. Sandra Verhagen

Sensing from Space

Dr. Tamas Keviczky

Distributed Space Systems

Dr. Chris Verhoeven

Space Robotics

News & Events

News: PhD Board

Talk about the KickSat project, crowdsourcing the World’s Smallest Spacecraft, by Zac Manchester

On Friday March 10th, Zac Manchester, Founder of the KickSat project and Postdoctoral Fellow of Harvard, visited TU Delft and gave a talk about the KickSat project, crowdsourcing the World’s Smallest Spacecraft. Zac initiated the KickSat project as an outgrowth of his Ph.D. research at Cornell, where he developed the electrical, mechanical, and communications systems underlying the Sprite. The project has the goal of dramatically reducing the cost of access to space and has included participants from all over the world. KickSat was financed through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter and awarded a launch through NASA’s ELaNa Program.

Zac founded the KickSat project in 2011 with the dual goals of engaging the public in spaceflight and advancing the technologies needed to enable low-cost ChipSat missions. At the heart of the project is the Sprite, a 3.5-by-3.5 centimeter printed circuit board spacecraft with a mass of 4 grams. Sprites are capable of collecting measurements from a variety of sensors and communicating directly with ground stations from low-Earth orbit using a code division multiple access (CDMA) communication scheme. To launch and deploy these tiny spacecraft, a CubeSat “mothership” that can accommodate over 100 Sprites has also been developed.

In addition to highlighting the engineering challenges associated with KickSat, he discussed several of the ways in which the project has engaged the “Maker” community and the broader public. People from around the world participated in crowdfunding, setting up ground stations, and even mission operations. He  also shared some results from recent flight experiments and discussed the upcoming KickSat-2 mission.





TU Delft Space Institute
Kluyverweg 1
2629 HS Delft
Telephone: +31 (0)15-2781721

For general questions regarding the TU Delft Space institute please contact the institute secretary Mariëlle Hoefakker at M.E.Hoefakker@tudelft.nl. For expertise on specific space-related topics we have created a web directory on this website which you may consult for contact details of relevant experts.

External parties interested in cooperating with the TU Delft Space Institute can contact the Business Developer Anke Peters via A.Peters@tudelft.nl.

Contact information on other TU Delft employees can be found on the TU Delft website.

The TU Delft Space Institute is present at five different faculties of Delft University of Technology. Directions to the TU Delft campus and maps of the campus can be found here.