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

DSI-TNO “Innovate your Space” symposium – November 9th, 2017

On November 9th, the TU Delft Space Institute joined forces with TNO to organize the “Innovate your Space” Symposium at the Art Centre Delft. 120 experts from
industry, knowledge institutes, government and academia attended the day, full of effective and fruitful discussions and meeting old and new partners and collaborators.

The symposium was kick-started by a presentation by the hosts of the symposium, Eberhard Gill from the TU Delft Space Institute and Kees Buijsrogge from TNO. In the first keynote speech, Henk Hoevers, Head of the Technology Program of SRON, elaborated on SRON’s technology program and strategic long-term plans. His intriguing talk was followed by the next keynote speaker: Mark Bentum from TU Eindhoven. His presentation entitled ‘Are we alone?’ was addressing various existing and future technologies to identify Earth-like planets and inspired the diverse audience.

The following ‘Meet the Expert’-session offered an extended networking opportunity for all attendees to meet fellow specialists as well as investors. This opportunity was very well received and one could observe pairs or small groups form to discuss about scientific, engineering or societal questions or possibilities of collaboration. The organizers even had prepared short bio’s to facilitate this session, which proved to be an excellent opportunity, based on the responses from attendees.

In the second part of the program, the attendees got the opportunity to listen to Grazia Vittadini, the Executive Vice President of Engineering at Airbus Defense & Space, who came all the way from Toulouse, France. Her keynote was devoted to New Space Systems paradigms, such as distributed space systems and Cloud Computing, their perspectives and challenges.

Another highlight on the day was certainly the plenary discussion, where moderator Michel van Baal opened up a lively discussion between the panel and the audience. The panel members were well-known members of the Dutch space community: Kees Buijsrogge (TNO), Joost Carpay (NSO), Franco Ongaro (ESA-ESTEC), and Henri Werij (TU Delft). They were challenged by several statements, such as:

  • The Netherlands should cash in on commercialisation in space (commercialisation in space is just a marketing term)
  • The Netherlands should do more fundamental space research (why? And who should pay for it? And how to agree on the roadmap?)
  • The 200M extra resources allocated by the new government should be used to build a major Dutch Instrument or satellite
  • Industry and knowledge institutes should collaborate more
  • (Space) Industry should buy more IP of knowledge institutes (further development of existing technologies)

And the audience could, of course, also contribute with their questions and insights. Topics included commercialization in space, the extra resources allocated by the new government, and the collaboration of industry and knowledge institutes.


Following the plenary discussion, a poster competition had been organized to show and discuss selected aspects of research at TU Delft. Ten PhD and master students from several faculties involved in the TU Delft Space Institute got the opportunity to present their research and lively discussions emerged. Topics ranged from adaptive optics to asteroid mining and buckling of launch vehicles. Not only did the students explain their research on the basis of their poster, they also prepared a two minute pitch on their research. The winners of the competition, Marsil de Athay de Costa e Silva and Dadui Cordeiro Guerrieri, were awarded with a financial contribution for attending a European conference for their outstanding work on micro-propulsion.

As Dutch tradition states, at the end of the symposium there was a borrel which extended the networking even more. The TU Delft Space Institute is planning to take the lead in organizing a succession of the success of this symposium in 2018, co-organizers welcome.


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.