IACTEC-Space is the project within IACTEC that drives innovation and development related to the use of small satellite payloads and satellite instrumentation. Our main task is the design and development of small satellite payloads. We have several ongoing projects, in different completion phases:
The DRAGO SWIR cameras
Our first instruments, the DRAGO cameras for Earth Observation, observe in the short-wave infrared (SWIR), between 1.0 and 1.7 microns. Their compact size, low weight and low power consumption makes them perfect for microsatellites. The cameras, DRAGO-1 and DRAGO-2, were sent to space in 2021 and 2023 respectively, and showed their amazing performance in their demonstration missions.
DRAGO-1 has a field of view of 190 km and a resolution of 300 m per pixel, for an orbit of 500 km. On the other hand, DRAGO-2 has a smaller field of view, of 32 km, but a higher resolution: 50 m per pixel, for the same orbit. Therefore, these two cameras are complementary in field of view and resolution, and among their possible uses are fire monitoring, volcanic activity monitoring, oil spills detection, desertification analysis, water stress monitoring in crops, etc.
These cameras are quite unique in that they include patent-pending technology that allows them to be used in space without an active cooling system, saving up to 60% of their power consumption. In terms of data management, the cameras can compress the images, with and without loss, they have encryption and decryption capabilities, and they also include super-resolution algorithms that enable higher-quality image acquisition, combining exposures taken with small sub-pixel shifts.
The DRAGO cameras are fully developed and available for any institution or company that requires them. You can find more information and images of the DRAGO cameras here:
VINIS satellite for Earth Observation
The VINIS instrument is our latest development. In this case, this is a much more sophisticated instrument, which combines observations in the visible, near-infrared and SWIR wavelengths. It also has a much higher resolution, better than 5 m per pixel - depending on the wavelength - for an orbit of 500 km, which will allow the observation of the Earth's surface with a very high level of detail. The first prototype of the VINIS instrument is already completed.
You can find more information about the VINIS instrument here:
- VINIS datasheet
The ALISIO-1 satellite
ALISIO-1 will be the first Canary Islands satellite for Earth Observation. It will host a DRAGO camera and a laser optical communications module for the transmission of data to the ground. This satellite will be launched to space next year 2024, with the collaboration of Deimos, Open Cosmos and D-Orbit.
You can find more information about the ALISIO-1 satellite here:
The IACSAT Astro-1 Space Telescope
IACSAT Astro-1 will be the first space astronomical observatory of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, which will be used for the confirmation of new Earth-like exoplanets and the study and monitorization of near-Earth asteroids. It will consist on a ~22 cm mirror telescope, operating in the visible and near-infrared. This telescope is currently under development.
You can find more information about the IACSAT Astro-1 space telescope here:
Acknowledgements: IACTEC-Space has the financial support of the Programa de Capacitación within the TFINNOVA program, the Marco Estratégico de Desarrollo Insular (MEDI), the Fondo de Desarrollo de Canarias and FEDER funds through the Spanish Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico y la Innovación (CDTI). IACTEC has the support of Cabildo Insular de Tenerife and the Next Generation EU funds through the Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia of the Spanish government.
Meet the IACTEC-Space team
We are a small team doing big things. Led by our Principal Investigator, Álex Oscoz, the team is integrated by 15 physicists and engineers who are passionate about space.
If you want to follow our activities, results and latest developments, you can also find us in our social media accounts:
In this video you can get to know a bit more about our team and our current projects. Make sure to activate the English subtitles on the options.
DRAGO: Un pequeño instrumento, un gran camino
El pasado 24 de enero tuvo lugar la puesta en órbita de DRAGO (Demonstrator for Remote Analysis of Ground Observations), el primer instrumento desarrollado por IACTEC-Espacio. Semanas después llegaban sus primeras imágenes infrarrojas de la Tierra, con una calidad a la altura de las expectativas más optimistas. DRAGO es el resultado de cuatro añosA. Oscoz et al.
From science to industry, technology transference with CubeSats
The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has as main objective to promote and carry out all types of research in astrophysics and its related fields. This mission means that the IAC has been involved in instrumental developments for both ground-based and space observations for decades. This accumulated experience led the IAC to launch anI. Bustamante et al.
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El IAC envía al Espacio el primer satélite canarioAdvertised on
The countdown for the launch of ALISIO-1 has begunAdvertised on
DRAGO-2 makes its first observations from spaceAdvertised on
Taking advantage of the accumulated experience of optomechanical and optoelectronic instrumentation design in extreme environments and in space, the IAC through IACTec designs and constructs payloads for observing the earth from satellites in low orbits.