From ground-breaking climate research and satellites for observational systems, to non-invasive medical research and semiconductor production: we have a lot to thank optical scientific instruments for, including their use in space technology. The Netherlands has a strong international position in the development and implementation of innovative and optical instruments for use in space and science.

Ever since its foundation, TNO has been active in the field of advanced optical instruments, and for over 50 years has been developing instruments for use in space, astronomy, scientific research and manufacturing industry. Examples of this work include the development of instruments for measuring the ozone layer (GOME and TROPOMI) and a space telescope (GAIA). The measuring instruments contribute to dealing with important social issues, spur on science and form the basis for hi-tech industry and job opportunities in the Netherlands.

50 years track record

Future prospects

Space plays a crucial role in the daily life of everyone on Earth. Satellites for communication, Earth observation and astronomy are an increasingly crucial part of our planet’s infrastructure. In close cooperation with industry, TNO Space & Scientific Instrumentation delivers  breakthrough technology for space and scientific instruments.

Kees Buijsrogge, Director Space & Scientific Instrumentation: “We do this to prevent air pollution and climate change, help our understanding of the universe, enable secure broadband connectivity and stimulate economic growth.”


“For more than 50 years we have been developing instruments with ingenious creativity that are able to deliver world-class performance. Over the years, dozens of satellites as well as ground-based telescopes have been equipped with systems that TNO has designed, built and tested. Our technology ranges from spectrometers for Earth observation to opto-mechanical instruments and other high-tech mission-critical space components for space science and optical communication applications.”


If you would like to know more about our Space & Scientific Instrumentation activities, please take a look at more examples of our work, or get in touch with us.

Would you like to know more about our Space & Scientific Instrumentation activities?

Take a look at more examples of our work, or get in touch with us!


TNO and Celestia STS sign agreement to commercialise Optical Modem

30 June 2021
The availability of optical modem technology (optical digital converter aka ODC) for the market has taken a major step forward with the signing this week of an agreement between TNO, the Netherlands Organisation... Read more

Lunar Zebro and TNO join forces to pave the way to the Moon

16 June 2021
Lunar Zebro, an ambitious team at TU Delft will work together with TNO (The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) to build the lightest and smallest Moon rover to date. The partnership... Read more

Aircision and TNO successfully demonstrate 10 Gbps FSO link over 2.5km, enabling fast deployable 5G networks

25 May 2021
Aircision and TNO successfully completed their field tests establishing the first optical wireless link of 10 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) over 2.5km in the Netherlands. This will potentially enable 5G and... Read more

TNO to Apply Latest Adaptive Mirror Technology to Europe’s Largest Solar Telescope

14 April 2021
TNO has been selected to start the design of an essential component for the European Solar Telescope (EST), scheduled for construction in the Canary Islands. The telescope will allow detailed investigations... Read more

TNO & Demcon to Provide Enabling Technology for the World’s Largest Telescope

02 February 2021
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is creating the world’s largest telescope. It has selected TNO to provide a key enabling technology that will allow the telescope to produce better views of the... Read more

Optical satellite communication: The next generation communication instruments for space science and exploration

28 January 2021
Space agencies across the globe have set their sights on the Moon and deep-space. But venturing as far as the Moon or even further, to Mars, makes it increasingly difficult to transmit the tremendous... Read more

TNO Insights

TNO Contributes to James Webb Telescope and Space History

25 December 2021
On 25 December 2021, NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) successfully launched the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) into orbit. Considered one of the largest and... Read more

Drs. Kees Buijsrogge

  • Space
  • Scientific instrumentation
  • Earth observation
  • Remote sensing
  • Optical Satellite Communication