Knowledge Network Overview

(For a Dutch version, click here)


The Dutch knowledge network on small spaceborne radar instruments and applications (acronym NL-RIA) aims at strengthening the international position of The Netherlands in the field of spaceborne microwave remote sensing instruments, missions and applications by establishing a long-lasting network of scientific and knowledge institutes, companies and governmental agencies.

Specific objectives of the NL-RIA knowledge network relate to the study of breakthrough technologies to allow the implementation of miniaturized radar instruments that are compatible with SmallSat Earth Observation missions. The realisation of constellations of miniaturized spacecraft form a next goal. Because of their expected viability, emphasis initially is on two classes of instruments:

  • radar altimeters, and
  • synthetic aperture radars (SARs).

Of particular interest are multistatic mission concepts, with several spacecraft acting as a single distributed radar system or operating individually in a constellation to improve spatio-temporal observation capability, a much needed capability in remote sensing. But also new and advanced operating modi of existing instruments are of interest. For instance research on a simultaneous ocean motion measurement mode for a windscatterometer that would enhance the wind measurement capability of ESA/ EUMETSAT’s ASCAT instrument.
In NL-RIA the partners work together to seek funding, both public at Dutch and European level and private, to continue and expand the activities of the network in spaceborne instrument development and to create a substantial market opportunity for application developers in The Netherlands.


NL-RIA was established in 2018 in the framework of the Partnerships for Space Instruments & Applications Preparatory Programme (PIPP), or knowledge network programme. It is funded by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and executed by the Netherlands Space Office (NSO).