Space research encompasses many areas of knowledge and technical development that have historically led to a transformation of the world in which we live, especially over the past decades. A good proof of this is the use of technologies developed for space exploration in diverse fields such as the manufacturing of high-precision mechanical and optical components, electronics, materials science, automation and robotics, medical equipment, energy generation systems, etc. There is a plethora of examples of such kind of space technology transfer to civil use, among which we can mention some of special relevance, such as applications based on communication or global positioning satellites (GPS).
The IEEC is a leading center in the construction of space and ground-based astronomical instrumentation and has a highly competitive team in the field of space science and instrumentation with a high rate of internationalization. A consequence of this is the participation in different European networks that are focused on defining the roadmaps in the theoretical, experimental and observational areas, and in various missions for space exploration and Earth observation. The IEEC also plays a relevant role in ground instrumentation projects.
The main technological areas of expertise of IEEC cover: Global Navigation Satellite System Reflectometry (GNSS-R) for Earth monitoring; small satellites; control software for space missions and ground-based observatories (critical and real-time embedded software, software infrastructures, distributed control); robotics, based on artificial intelligence techniques; BigData technology for data management and analysis, data archiving and scientific exploitation; measurement and control of very low frequency variations of temperature and magnetic fields; opto-mechanics and spectral characterization of optical materials; high-energy sensors; etc. The produced technology has, in many cases, a high Technological Readiness Level, or TRL in space, which indicates the strong potential of the institute and allow us to approach market applications with a high degree of innovation. In this sense, the goal of IEEC is also focused on becoming an efficient agent in the transfer of technology and know-how to industry for space and non-space applications.
Reaching the aforementioned objectives cannot be accomplished in an isolated form, so that IEEC has a network of collaborations with other organizations, including academic institution and industrial enterprises. The latter provide a crucial contribution to ensure the high competitive level needed in space projects and ideally complement the capabilities of IEEC.