Space Optics Instrument Design & Technology 2022

8 May - 13 May 2022

Poltu Quatu, Sardinia

Due to the covid-19 pandemia we were not be in a position to provide the course on Space Optics Instrument Technology in 2020, as planned. After having postponed the course a first time to End of September 2020, then to spring 2021 we see now the need for a change in the date again. The course content remains in general unchanged, however, once confirmed there might be some personal changes of the invited lecturers. Above date in spring 2022 is tentative.

The course can only be performed if an on-site event will be feasible.


About the course

The European Space Agency took in 2015 the initiative to organize a course for professionals operating in the sector of optical engineering for  Space. Two types of courses are organized: one dedicated to space optics instrument design and the other space optics instrument technology. The two courses are organised alternatively, one per year. The course of 2020 is targeted to space optics technology.

The team of lecturers consists of professionals with a long standing experience in the sector. Their accessibility during the course, gives the  participants a unique opportunity to deepen their knowledge with one-to-one meetings aside of the planned lectures.

The venue hosting students and lecturers gives plenty of opportunities to develop a professional network. Sharing problems and discussing solutions together is the way to build a community of space optical engineers enabling and fostering growth in the space sector as a whole.

The contracted venue is again the Grand Hotel Poltu Quatu, close to Olbia – Sardinia (Italy)


Keywords: course, space, optical design, freeform surfaces, optical technologies, optical engineering, ZEMAX, Optics Studio, Optical manufacturing technology, metal optics, diamond micro-machining, optical design, optical verification, telescope alignment, grating technology, detector, polarization scrambler, slit homogenizer, stressfree optical mounting, cubesat, hyperspectral imager


For registration to the course and all financial matters please follow the link:

Course Overview and Schedule

The 2020 course will present state-of-the-art technologies for space optical instruments providing an overview of new design, manufacturing and integration technologies. Besides other topics, there will be lectures on the new area of freeform design, definition, optimization, tolerancing and verification, as well as how to implement this in optical design software. The rapidly growing field of optical CubeSat technology will also be addressed.

The course will be organised into two parallel classes. Class B is for optical engineers, familiar with optical design and sequential optical design analysis, while class A is intended for engineers with less experience in optical engineering and design or with a different background and expertise. In class B there will be lectures on advanced ZEMAX straylight analysis and on freeform definition, optimization, tolerancing and verification. In class A an introduction to ZEMAX sequential ray tracing and an introduction to the design of freeform surfaces will be provided. Class A and B will differ in content only for the lectures on Monday and Tuesday.

The original schedule of the course can be downloaded here for information.


SOIDT - Technology 2022 curriculum

A – Baseline Technology

Introduction to Zemax, Straylight Modelization with ZEMAX – Alessandra Croce

Manufacturing Technologies for Space Optics – Roland Geyl

Metal Optics Technology – Matthias Beier

B – Freeform Technology

Freeform Definition, Optimization, Tolerancing and Verification – Ulrike Fuchs

Freeform Design Optimization with ZEMAX – Alessandra Croce

C – Component Technology

Grating Fabrication Technologies – Uwe Zeitner

Polarization Scrambler and slit homogenizer technology – Jerome Caron

Detector Technology – Kyriaki Minoglou

D – Integration Technology

Stressfree Optical Mounting Technology – Erik Beckert

Telescope AIT – Matthias Erdmann

E – CubeSat Technology

Hyperspectral CubeSat instruments overview – Heikki Saari

F – Technology Management

Innovation and Technology Management in Space Optics – Luca Maresi

Hands-on Activity – Volker Kirschner, Bernd Harnisch

Lecturer and Lecture Abstracts

Dominic Doyle

MSc Physics


Position: Senior Optical Engineer ESA
Lecturing: Space optical technologies – an introduction

Dominic Doyle is a senior optical engineer with the European Space Agency at their technical centre ESTEC in the Netherlands. He was responsible for leading the industrial teams during the final phases of procurement, testing and integration of both the Herschel and Planck cryogenic space telescopes. He is a science graduate of both the National University of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin. During his career in Ireland and the Netherlands he has specialised in optics and has a wide range of experience covering fields such as atmospheric physics, optical metrology and researching the effects of radiation on optical materials among others. He is currently working on supporting the definition studies of the SPICA Far-IR and Athena X-Ray space telescopes, as well as a conceptual study for very large space telescopes of the future (> 15 m diameter).
Space optical technologies – an introduction

This lecture introduces and describes briefly the subjects you shall be learning about during the week. In addition I shall describe the space optical technology landscape past and future. Lessons learned from past achievements (and failures) both informs present developments, and inspires us to do things differently and better in future. And it’s in the future where your careers are based! The challenge is yours.

Alessandra Croce, MSc Applied Physics


Position: Senior Optical Engineer, Zemax
Lecturing: Introduction to Zemax OpticStudio, Straylight Modelization with Zemax OpticStudio, Freeform design optimization with Zemax OpticStudio


Alessandra is a Senior Optical Engineer working at Zemax. She initially focused on guiding Zemax customers in the use of OpticStudio, as well as delivering public and private training across multiple European locations. Today, her main responsibilities include researching and demonstrating new modelling capabilities, creating technical content for the Zemax userbase and helping bringing upcoming OpticStudio features to life.

2015 – today  Senior Optical Engineer, Zemax, UK
2013 – 2015   Test Engineer/Project Engineer, Beck Optronic Solutions, UK
2010 – 2012   MSc in Applied Physics with a major in Optics and Photonics, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France
2005 – 2010   BSc in Physics, University of Palermo, Italy

Introduction to Zemax OpticStudio

This lecture will be a hands-on induction to Zemax OpticStudio optimization and tolerancing analysis features. After a short introduction to OpticStudio sequential mode, we will discuss optimization techniques and apply them to simple optical systems (singlet, doublet). We will then cover the basic of tolerancing theory and its implementation within OpticStudio. Finally, we will present desensitization techniques and an inverse tolerancing example.


Straylight Modelization with Zemax OpticStudio

This lecture is intended for people already familiar with Zemax OpticStudio sequential mode. We will cover the basics of non-sequential ray-tracing and optimization, and discuss how to correctly set-up and troubleshoot non-sequential files. We will then discuss how to model surface and bulk scattering in OpticStudio. After a short introduction to stray light analysis, we will discuss which tools are available for this task and how to perform a ghost analysis.


Freeform design optimization with Zemax OpticStudio

Freeform surfaces can represent an efficient solution to reduce system’s aberrations, while offering at the same time significant benefits and cost savings. In this lecture, we will briefly introduce freeforms and discuss the models available in OpticStudio. Then, we will do a practical example to show how freeform surfaces can be used to improve the optical performance of a telescope, as well as decrease its size.

Roland Geyl, MSc. Optical Engineer


Position: Bussiness development, REOSC 
Lecturing: Introduction to Optical Manufacturing Technologies

Roland GEYL is an Optical Engineer graduated from Paris Orsay Institute of Optics Maurice working at Reosc, SAFRAN Group in France. During more than three decades he contributed to most of the space projects at REOSC either as lens designer, manufacturing and testing engineer, program manager, sales manager and plant director. Today he focuses on business development. His main task is to explore new business opportunities for REOSC and act as expert in lens design, manufacturing and testing. Current research is on freeform optics for astronomy and space.

2013 – today Reosc, France, Business development
1999 – 2012 Sagem-Reosc, France, Sales Manager & Safran Emeritus Expert in High performance optics
1981 – 1998 Reosc, France, Lens design & Engineering / Optical manufacturing & Testing/ Program management / Division Manager )
1976 – 1979 Study at Ecole Superieure d’Optique (Major of promotion)
1982 – 2002 lecturer of Lens Design course at the Ecole Supérieure d’Optique, Paris-Orsay

Manufacturing Technologies for Space Optics – Roland Geyl

We will review in this course module the subject of precision optical manufacturing for space optics. After first detailing what is a ‘good’ optical surface and doing a brief historical overview, we will present the generic optical manufacturing process and then review the various technologies dedicated to the production of quality optical surface. Glass, metal and ceramic will be addressed. Grinding-lapping-polishing is the main subject but other techniques like replication, single point diamond turning and material deposition technique will also be addressed. The typical defects of optical surfaces, their impacts and prevent/repairs actions will be reviewed to support student future real life.

Matthias Beier

PhD Engineering



Position: Group Leader Ultraprecision Manufacturing/Freeform Optics
Lecturing: Metal Optics

Matthias graduated from Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena with a PhD in Optical Engineering, working on the development and fabrication of optical imaging systems based on metallic mirrors. He is currently leading a research group at Fraunhofer IOF, developing ultra-precise fabrication and metrology processes for high-quality optical systems mainly for usage in astronomy and space. His research interests include optical manufacturing and testing technologies as well as system engineering aspects, with a special interest in freeform optical systems. He was and is currently involved in the development and realization process of numerous optical systems for space applications and large terrestrial telescopes.

2020 – today Co-Founder of Fraunhofer spin-off SPACEOPTIX
2018 – today Group Leader Ultraprecision Manufacturing and Freeform Optics at Fraunhofer IOF, Jena, Germany
2017 Research Scientist on EUV Optics Manufacturing at Carl Zeiss SMT, Oberkochen, Germany
2012 – 2017 Dr.-Ing. (PhD) in Technical Physics at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany
2010 – 2011 Studies of Precision Engineering at Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain
2006 – 2012 Dipl.-Ing. in Electrical and Precision Engineering at Technical University of Dresden, Germany

Metal Optics

High-quality metallic mirrors satisfy many needs that modern space optical instruments require: high degrees of light-weighting, complex aspheric and freeform geometries at comparable low manufacturing costs and high production volume, and integrated functionalities for simplified metrology and system assembly. The lecture focuses on technologies needed to realize metal optics for applications ranging from XUV to IR and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of metallic mirror substrates within space instruments. A major emphasis is put on techniques required to realize freeform optics in metallic substrates, namely diamond micromachining and sub-aperture polishing processes, ultra-precise mechanical references and integrated metrology fiducials, and snap-together system concepts. Finally, guidelines and hints for the design and fabrication of metal optical systems will be given on the hand of past and current space missions.

Ulrike Fuchs

PhD Physics


Position: Vice President Strategy & Innovation at asphericon
Lecturing: Freeform Definition, Optimization, Tolerancing and Verification

After joining asphericon in 2010 Dr. Fuchs focused early on linking manufacturing of aspherics and metrology with questions in optical design. With her team she also works on concepts that allow better prediction of system performance during optical design and tolerancing processes. Recently, great emphasis is put on transferring those ideas to freeform optics. As Vice President Strategy & Innovation she now coordinates all R&D activities at asphericon as well as strategic product development. She has already been able to register 6 patent families and is the inaugural winner of the Kevin P. Thompson Optical Design Innovator Award. Furthermore, she has been working as an Associated Editor for Optics Express since April 2018 and is the author of more than 60 publications. She holds a doctorate in physics from the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena.

since 08/2018 Vice President Strategy & Innovation at asphericon
since 08/2012 Head of Applications Department at asphericon
06/2010 – 08/2012 Head of Optical Design Group at asphericon
since 2013 Guest Lecturer at the Ernst-Abbe-University of Applied Science Jena
11/2004 – 06/2010 Research Associate Fraunhofer IOF, Jena Germany
01/2010 – 12/2010 Assistant Lecturer at Abbe School of Photonics, FSU Jena

Freeform Optics – Design and Applications

This course will be given at two different levels. The basic level will introduce aspheric optics and their applications, giving a short introduction on freeform optics. The more advanced level will give an overview on freeform optical systems based on real world examples. Special emphasis will be on aspects as ISO 10110 and manufacturability.

Freeform Manufacturing and Metrology

This course continues with the topics of “Freeform Optics – Design and Applications ” putting great emphasis on reviewing metrology devices and correlating this with ISO 10110. Therefore, this course will also be given at two different levels.

Uwe Zeitner,

PhD Physics


Position: Head of Micro-Optical Systems Department at Fraunhofer IOF
Lecturing: Grating Fabrication Technologies

Worked at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany, in the field of fabrication of micro-optical elements and systems by e-beam lithography and resonator internal laser beam shaping. Since 1999 he is with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF), Jena, where he is currently heading the Micro-Optical Systems Department. Uwe Zeitner’s field of research is the development of micro- and nano-technological solutions for optical applications enabled by fundamental research in various fields. He has a strong background in the development of high-performance gratings for applications like laser pulse compression or space-borne spectroscopy for missions like GAIA, Sentinel-4/5, FLEX, or CarbonSat.

since 2017 Head of Micro-Optical Systems Department, Fraunhofer IOF Jena
2011 – 2016 Head of workgroup „Fabrication technologies for advanced Micro and Nano-Optics“, ZIK UltraOptics, Institute of Applied Physics, University Jena
2008 Habilitation in Experimental Physics, University Jena
2006 – 2016 Head of „Center for Advanced Micro- and Nano-Optics“, Fraunhofer IOF Jena
2004 – 2006 Head of workgroup „Fundamentals“, Fraunhofer IOF Jena
1999 PhD in Resonator internal laser beam shaping at University Jena
since 1999 Scientist at Fraunhofer IOF Jena
1995 – 1998 Scientist, Institute of Applied Physics, University Jena
1990 – 1995 study of Physics at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

Grating Fabrication Technologies – Uwe Zeitner

Gratings are key components in space-borne spectrometers for earth observation and scientific missions. Their optical properties determine the achievable spectral resolution and signal quality of the instrument. Based on the specific requirements of contemporary spectrometers an overview of state-of-the-art fabrication technologies for the required high-end optical gratings will be given. This includes methods like ruling, holography, and direct write lithographic structuring. Their potential and limitations for the realization of a desired grating profile and related properties like high polarization independent diffraction efficiencies and good wave-front qualities will be discussed. Special emphasis will be given to recent insights into the stray-light characteristics of gratings and related theoretical models. Different examples of gratings tailored for specific ESA space missions like GAIA, Sentinel-4/5, CarbonSat, or DESIS will be shown.

Jerome Caron, PhD Optics


Position: Optical designer at TNO, working on designs with freeform mirrors, pushbroom spectrometers and polarization optics
Lecturing: Polarization Scrambler – Concepts, Optical Design, Manufacturability and Performances

He worked 9 years at the European Space Agency as consultant and optical performance engineer on instruments for future Earth observation missions. He was then involved in the preliminary phases of A-Scope, Premier, Sentinel-4, Sentinel-5, CarbonSat and Flex. At ESA he also followed and contributed to breadboarding activities on polarization scramblers, slit homogenizers, characterization and modelling of speckles from calibration diffusers.

2016-present Optical designer at TNO, Netherlands
2007-2016 Optical engineer at European Space Agency
2005-2007 System engineer at Sagem Défense et Sécurité, Paris, France
2004-2005 Laser engineer at Nevada Terawatt Facility, Reno, USA
2000-2003 PhD on volume and surface scattering of polarized light at Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France
1998-2000 Engineering degree from Ecole Supérieure d’Optique
1994-1998 Master of physics, Université de Poitiers, France

Polarization Scrambler and slit homogenizer technology – Jerome Caron

Polarization scramblers are optical devices that depolarize light and alter as little as possible light propagation so that they can be used in imaging instruments. Spatial pseudo-depolarizers [1] are compact and passive scramblers with high performance that are well suited for space, and are or have been used in several spectro-imagers to make the measurements insensitive to polarization. In this course we will present their design, performance, manufacturing and testing.

[1] R.A.Chipman, J.P.McGuire, Opt. Eng. vol29 n12, pp1478-1484 (1990).

In imaging spectrometers a telescope images a ground scene onto the entrance slit of a spectrometer. Patches of clouds, snow or ground albedo variations create a non-homogeneous slit illumination that results in spectral distortions. Slit homogenizers provide an elegant hardware correction of this effect. They are promising components that have been recently designed for Sentinel-5. We will discuss their design, performance and manufacturing.

Kiriaki Minoglou, PhD Opto-electronics


Position: Opto-electronics Engineer at ESA
Lecturing: Detector Technology


2014 – present ESA-ESTEC, Opto-electronics Engineer
2007 – 2014 imec, Belgium, Detector Research Engineer
2002 – 2007 Department of Informatics, University of Athens, Greece, Ph.D in Optoelectronics
2001 – 2007 NCSR-Demokritos, Institute of Microelectronics, Athens, Greece, Research Engineer
2001 – 2007 Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Greece, Laboratory Teaching Assistant
2000 – 2002 Department of Informatics, University of Athens, Greece, M.Sc. in Microelectronics
1994 – 2000 Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, MEng. in Electrical Engineering


Detector Technology – Kyriaki Minoglou

The major objective of this lecture is to make the participants familiar with the different types of detectors that can be used in space instruments applications. Design, technology and characterization of detectors and the relevant topics will be discussed.

Erik Beckert, PhD Engineering


Position: Fraunhofer IOF Jena, Group leader Micro-assembly and System Integration 
Lecturing: Stressfree Optical Mounting Technology

Erik Beckerts works in the field of micro assembly, system integration and packaging of micro- and laser-optical systems for more than 15 years now. His experience covers components and systems such as the green laser for the EXOMARS Raman-experiment, a space-suitable entangled photon source as well as many technology studies for lens and laser bench mounting technologies.

Since 2005 Group Leader Micro Assembly and System Integration, Fraunhofer IOF
2005 PhD in Engineering
Since 2001 Engineer at Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF), Jena
1997 – 2001 Engineer at Institute for Microelectronic and Mechatronic Systems, Ilmenau
1992 – 1997 Study of Mechanical Engineering at Technical University, Ilmenau

Optics packaging Technologies for harsh environment – Erik Beckert

Not only the design, but also the packaging of optical systems is a key factor for highly performant and reliable, robust systems. This is of interest in particular in harsh environments, such as aviation and space, but also vacuum science and high power laser machining. Packaging of optical systems poses various challenges – different materials have to be joined together, components and their optical performance are stress and alignment sensitive, heat from active sources and conversion materials needs to be dissipated, and steep temperature gradients causing thermomechanical stress can occur. Well designed and optimized packaging and bonding technologies address these needs.
The talk will focus on bonding techniques for metallic and non-metallic, amorphous and crystalline materials, emphasizing on the development and application chain from bonding geometry design, optimization by simulation of stress and the resulting birefringent or laser-optical performance, and practical issues of processing and equipment when applying different bonding technologies. Specific technologies to be discussed are gluing, soft soldering by means of laser reflow, hydrophilic bonding and plasma assisted bonding as well as two-photon absorption based laser welding. The basics as well as design and parametrization of these techniques will be discussed, followed up by boundary conditions and restrictions. Examples will demonstrate the application of the different technologies in reality. Amongst them is the green laser for the Raman experiment of the upcoming 2020 ExoMars Mission, a nanosecond fiber laser for a space LIDAR and an entangled photon source for a satellite quantum payload.

Matthias Erdmann, MSc. Optical Engineer


Position: Sentinel 5 Performance Engineer at ESA
Lecturing: AIT of On- and Off-axis telescopes

2014 – present Sentinel 5 Performance Engineer at ESA 
2006 – 2013 GAIA Payload System Engineer at ESA
1996 – 2005 Systems Engineer Optics at Kayser-Threde (D)
1990 – 1995 Optical Designer at Steinheil Munich (D)
1990 Finalization of Optics study in Cologne

AIT of On- and Off-axis telescopes – Matthias Erdmann
The optical alignment of the telescope is a key activity of the AIT process of On- and Off-axis telescopes. The method described and practiced in the lecture is based on the fact that any alignment activity (shifting and tilting of optical elements) influences only the low order aberrations of the optical system. For the alignment the Wave Front Error (WFE) of the telescope is measured (e.g. by auto-collimation) and decomposed in low order aberration contributions. Based on analysis of the as-built model of the telescope and probing of the pre-aligned telescope optics sensitivities of low order WFE contributions to all optical alignment Degree Of Freedoms can be evaluated. Based on these sensitivities the next step of alignment improvement can be calculated, executed and verified. Recursive application of these technique converges to a perfect optical alignment after two or three iterations. For Korsch type telescopes including Three Mirror Anastigmats (TMA) the typical aberration and aberration sensitivities field gradients are discussed and their utilisation for the alignment is described and practiced.

Heikki Saari,

PhD Techn. in Techn. Physics


Position: Principal scientist at VTT Technology Research Centre of Finland

Lecturing: Hyperspectral CubeSat instruments overview

Heikki Saari received his M. Sc. in Technical Physics from Helsinki University of Technology, 1980, and Doctor of Technology degree, 1996 from the same university. He has led several space and airborne remote sensing instrument development projects. These include the OMI CCD Detector Modules for EOS AURA, GOMOS on ENVISAT and ESA MOEMS activities. He has also led several industrial applied research and product development projects for optical sensors (Vaisala, Environics) and hyperspectral imagers (Rikola Ltd., InnopharmaLabs, Revenio Research). He  is  the author or coauthor of more than 100 publications and eleven patents. His interests include hyperspectral imaging technology and applications, MOEMS sensor applications, scientific CCD and CMOS sensors and their electronics, UAV and nanosatellite Hyperspectral imagers. Currently he is a Principal Scientist  in Microspectrometers – team.


2013 – Present Principal Scientist at VTT Microspectrometers, Finland
2010 – 2013 Principal Scientist at VTT Photonics and Optical Measurements Solutions
2008 – 2009 Chief Research Scientist at VTT Optical Instruments
2006 – 2008 Leader of Optical Sensors and Space Instruments team at VTT Optical Instruments
2002 – 2005 Manager of Optical Sensors Group of the Microsensing Research Area at VTT Information Technology
1996 – 2002 Leader of Optics Group of the Measurement Technology Research Area at VTT Automation
1994 – 1995 Leader of the Optics and Electronics Group of the Space Technology Research Area at VTT Automation
1987 – 1993 Senior Research Scientist in Optical Engineering, Section of Space Technology, Instrument Laboratory, Technical Research Centre of Finland
1983 – 1987 Research Scientist in Optical Engineering, Section of Technical Physics, Instrument Laboratory, Technical Research Centre of Finland.
1979 – 1983 Research Scientist in section for instrument development in Finnish Pulp and Paper Research Institute.

Hyperspectral CubeSat instruments overview – Heikki Saari 

Cubesat optical instruments are able to produce scientific data for Earth and atmosphere Remote Sensing and for planetary applications when the limitations of the volume, power and mass budgets are taken into account.  Presently there are several optical instruments in orbit ( ). The lecture concentrates on hyperspectral imaging cubesat instruments that are operational in space at the moment (Aalto-1 Spectral Imager, HyperScout, HelloWorld etc.) and instruments that will be launched in near future (PICAASO VISION, SWIS – Snow and Water Imaging Spectrometer, Planetary Resources VNIR and CHAP).  The applications enabled by cubesat hyperspectral instruments are also discussed.

Luca Maresi,

MSc. Theor. Physics


Position: Head of the Optics Section at ESA/ESTEC
Lecturing: Cubesat Optical Payloads

Luca Maresi has thirty years of experience as Optical System Engineer for Space systems at Leonardo (Italy), Terma (Denmark), and ESA. He has worked on a number of large projects, such as Cassini, Rosetta, and Sentinel 5 Precursor. He has also initiated and managed groundbreaking projects, such as the Star Tracker 15AS at Terma, the Proba-V payload, and the HyperScout. In October 2013 he was appointed as Head of the Optics Section. Luca Maresi is the Chairman of the Symposium on Small Satellite Systems and Services since 2004. In 2016, together with Bernd Harnisch, he started the SOIDT.

2013 – present: Head of the Optics Section – Mechanical Dept. at ESA/ESTEC
2006 – 2013 Senior Optical System Engineer – Optics Section at ESA/ESTEC
2001 – 2006 Systems Engineer – Directorate of Industrial Matter and Technology at ESA/ESTEC
1996 – 2001 Senior Optical System Engineer – Space Division at Terma A/S – Denmark
1990 – 1996 Optical System Engineer – Space and Optics Division at Leonardo (formerly Officine Galileo) – Italy
1989 – 1990 System Engineer at Field Data – Italy
1989 Laurea in Physics – University of Milan

Innovation and Technology Management in Space Optics – Luca Maresi

The shelves of bookstores are full with a wide variety of books on innovation. The pace of technology innovation in consumer products is breathtaking. High-tech start-up pops up every day, and established companies struggle to keep with the pace of technology evolution.

In the Space business, the effort for qualifying and space testing new technologies slow down the technology refresh time. However, Space has been experiencing quite an acceleration in innovation thanks to small satellites and, more recently, cubesat. These provides a lower cost and a faster access to Space. However, a careful selection of new technologies and a thorough verification is still needed to ensure that the hardware will functions properly once in Space.

For both small satellites, and large space infrastructures, even if done at difference level the use of innovative concepts is always a trade-off between risks, delivery time and costs.

The first part of the lecture provides an introduction of the Innovation and Technology Management processes presenting study cases for the commercial market. The second part of the lecture focuses on the processes used in Space. Examples and real-life experience are presented. The lecture concludes with some considerations on how Innovation and Technology Management Processes shall be adapted in the current technology landscape in Space Optics.

Volker Kirschner, MSc. Physics


Position: Optical Instrument Engineer, ESA
Lecturing: Hands-on activity

Volker Kirschner is Optical Instrument Engineer at the European Space Agency. In his position in the TEC Directorate he supports projects regarding optical design, straylight, manufacturing of optics and testing. His experience is based on his support to MERIS, Herschel, Planck, Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-5.

since 2001 Optical Instrument Engineer at the European Space Agency, Noordwijk
1998 – 2001 Optical Engineer at Dutch Applied Research Organisation TNO, Delft
1997 – 1998 Young Graduate Trainee at the European Space Agency, Noordwijk
1996 – 1997 Research Assistant at Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Mechanics, Jena
1989 – 1996 Study of Physics at Friedrich-Schiller University Jena

Hands-on Activity

In the hands-on activity the participants will design, manufacture and test a telecentric lens. Starting from a set of requirements they will perform the optical and opto-mechanical design, they will manufacture and integrate the lens. Finally they will verify the achieved performances and give a short presentation of the achieved results.

Bernd Harnisch,

PhD Physics


Position: SOIDT course academic programme manager
Lecturing: Spectrometer, Hands-on application

worked 23 years at the European Space Agency in the Optics section as optical engineer. During his career he was responsible for technology developments on telescopes, spectrometers and lightweight ceramic mirror materials. Further on he was supporting the following optical flight instruments: GOMOS on ENVISAT, MSG, GERB on MSG, NIRSpec for JWST, MIRI for JWST and SEOSAT.

1992 – 2015 ESTEC, optical engineer in the Optics section
1997 – 1992 Scientific Assistant in at Friedrich-Schiller University Jena
1985 – 1987 Academy of Sciences Jena
1981 – 1985 PhD in Holographic Interferometry at Friedrich-Schiller University Jena
1976 – 1981 study of Physics at Friedrich-Schiller University Jena

Hands-on Activity

In the hands-on activity the participants will design, manufacture and test a telecentric lens. Starting from a set of requirements they will perform the optical and opto-mechanical design, they will manufacture and integrate the lens. Finally they will verify the achieved performances and give a short presentation of the achieved results.