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Origin of high-latitude auroras revealed

19 December 2014 - Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the Sun’s effect on Earth, but many aspects of these spectacular displays are still poorly understood.

Coronal Mass Ejection

Thanks to ESA’s Cluster and NASA’s Image satellites working together, a particular type of very high-latitude aurora has now been explained. Romain Maggiolo of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) is involved.

ESA Science: Origin of high-latitude auroras revealed


Academic Session "50 years"

Academic Session27 November 2014 - An Academic Session was organized on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB).

The session took place on Tuesday 25th of November 2014 in the Academy Palace.

Programme, speakers, power point presentations
on the anniversary website




Visit Prince Laurent

Prince Laurent15 October 2014 - At the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Prince Laurent of Belgium visited the Institute on 10th October 2014 and talked to ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in the International Space Station from the Belgian User Operations Center (B.USOC) hosted at the Institute.




Activities 50th anniversary of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB)

5O jaar BIRA | 50ste verjaardag 1964-2014


22 years EURECA, European Retrievable Carrier

31 July 2014 - The EUropean REtrievable CArrier (EURECA) was launched on 31 July 1992 by the Space Shuttle Atlantis. The launch mass of EURECA was 4490 kg with a payload capacity of up to 1000 kg. At that time, EURECA was the largest spacecraft so far built and flown by ESA.


The satellite carried a number of experiments for microgravity studies, atmospheric and solar observations, and material technology investigations. Among them, the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy was involved in two experiments...

Complete article Eureca @


Venus Express took a plunge into the Venus atmosphere

17 July 2014 - Daring aerobraking operations of the Venus Express (VEX) probe were undertaken by ESA to gain new insights about usually inaccessible regions of the planet’s atmosphere and about how the spacecraft and its components respond to such a hostile environment.

Venus Express Aerobraking

The campaign also provides the opportunity to develop and practise the critical operation techniques required for aerobraking, an experience that will be precious for the preparation of future planetary missions. After a month surfing in and out of the atmosphere of Venus down to only 130 km above the planet’s surface, Venus Express now embarked on a 15 day climb up to the lofty heights of 460 km.

The Planetary Aeronomy team at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy is responsible for the analysis of the data recorded by the SOIR instrument onboard VEX. The team was following with great interest and in suspense the development of the operations and the state of the satellite.

Read more on the Venus Express aerobraking.


Space weather forecasts in support of the Venus Express Aerobraking campaign

SSCC12 June 2014 - Venus Express is an ESA mission setup to observe the atmosphere of Venus.

After eight years in orbit, ESA’s Venus Express has completed routine science observations and has recently started to descend into the planet’s atmosphere.

The SSCC (SSA Space Weather Coordination Centre) is providing support to the Venus Express Aerobraking campaign.

Complete article: Space Weather Forecasts Venus Express



The Belgian Senate and Its Space Working Group

zitting van de Werkgroep "Ruimtevaart" van de Senaat24 March 2014 – Session of the Senate’s Space Working Group: “50 Years of Research on Space Aeronomy: What Challenges Does the Future Hold?”.

The Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) came into being on the 25 November 1964 and it will celebrate its 50th anniversary later on this year. In that space of time, the Institute has become a partner of international renown in the field of research and aeronomy.

The Working Group’s jubilee year was launched this Monday at a meeting of the Senate’s Space Working Group.


The eruption of Kelut

21 February 2014 - The Kelut eruption on the island of Java has produced a large ash and SO2 cloud that has been tracked by polar orbiting satellite instruments (IASI and GOME-2 onboard MetOp-A and MetOp-B, OMI on Aura, and AIRS on Aqua).


The ash has reached high altitudes where commercial aircraft fly and is a significant hazard to aviation. Three airports on Java have been closed and air routes from Australia to Singapore, Bangkok and beyond affected.

Read more on The Kelut eruption of 13 February 2014

Wake up, Rosetta! The comet chaser and the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy

If everything goes according to plan, the comet chaser Rosetta will wake up from hibernation the 20th of January 2014, and start the last phase of its 10-year journey to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Rosetta Spacecraft

The Rosetta space mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) will for the first time study a comet up close during its journey around the Sun. The Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) has helped to build the ROSINA (Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis) instrument on board of the satellite.

Complete article Wake up, Rosetta!




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