Norwegian-Dutch nanosatellites successfully launched

Information and sensor systems
3 January 2023

Two Norwegian-Dutch nanosatellites were successfully launched today. “Birkeland” and “Huygens” were placed in orbit around the earth by the company SpaceX.

MilSpace2 is a cooperation project between the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).

Defence Vision 2035 states that space has become a crucial link in the information-driven operations of the armed forces. The defence organisation is very dependent on satellites, for example for navigation and communication systems.

This is the second time that the Netherlands Ministry of Defence has launched satellites. It is therefore implementing Defence Vision 2035.


Strategic mutual assistance in research and technology (SMART), military use of space (MilSpace) and cooperation in science and technology are elements of the bilateral agreement between the ministries of defence of the Netherlands and Norway.

The project team that is acting on behalf of the two ministries consists of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).

The satellites, each of which is not much larger than a carton of milk, each measuring approximately 30x20x10 cm, are named after Norwegian physicist Kristian Olaf Birkeland and the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens.

Two nanosatellites in space
The two nanosatellites flying in space. Credits: Nanoavionics

Get inspired

18 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 5

Successful Ground Test Shows Potential for Satellite Identification

14 August 2023

It’s getting awfully crowded in space. Every year, businesses and organisations send an increasing number of new satellites into orbit, and many of them cannot be identified after they’re launched. Researchers at TNO wondered if there’s something we can do to address the challenge. And experts from TNO have successfully tested a viable solution. We spoke to team member Fabrizio Silvestri, Optical System Engineer, to find out more.

Earlier detection of hypersonic missiles with TNO technology means more time for interception

16 June 2023

TNO is active in all phases, ranging from novel interceptors and new concepts for Integrated Air and Missile Defense to advanced sensor solutions. Novel sensor technology is necessary as a successful kill-chain will push current radar systems to its limits.

First overview of cyberattack techniques by AI against AI

31 May 2023

All international trend reports view Artificial Intelligence as the most important disruptive technology of the coming years. Where a new technology develops, new vulnerabilities also arise. And AI is no exception.

The PQC Migration Handbook

4 April 2023

Commissioned by the AIVD, TNO has compiled a handbook together with CWI. This handbook offers organisations advice and concrete steps to mitigate the risk of quantum computers to cryptography.

MilSpace2: Spectrum monitoring dual satellite system

2 December 2022

The MilSpace2 satellite system will demonstrate the military use of a microsatellite spectrum monitoring system.