Institute of Space Systems

Contact data

Address: Pfaffenwaldring 31, 70569 Stuttgart

Telephone: (0711) 685-62375

Fax: (0711) 685-63596

E-Mail: sekretariat@irs.uni-stuttgart.de

Webpage: www.irs.uni-stuttgart.de


Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Röser

Contact persons

Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Röser, Space Systems and Applications, Nano Structures, Superconductors and Mesoscopic Systems

Dr.-Ing. Georg Herdrich, Space Transportation Technology, Plasma Technology

Prof. Dr. Ernst Messerschmidt, Astronautics and Space Stations

Prof. Dr. Alfred Krabbe, German SOFIA Institute (DSI)

Prof. Dr. Ing. Jörg Wagner, Adaptive Structures

Prof. Dr. Stefan Schlechtriem, Chemical Propulsion

Dr.-Ing. Stefan Löhle, Laboratory Director Plasma Wind Tunnels

Fields of activity

Space Stations and Exploration:

Design and simulation of space stations and exploration missions; design methodology and computer tools for the conceptual design of complex orbital and habitat systems, payload accommodation on space stations. Investigation of the natural and induced environment of space stations and surface habitats. Modelling and Simulation of Systems and Subsystems.
Design of space station experiments especially for in-situ gas measuring technology. Development of fuel cells.

Small Satellites and Instruments:

Development, construction and operation of small satellites: Flying Laptop in LEO and Lunar Mission BW1 to the Moon. Operation of a satellite ground station and a satellite simulation environment. Development of satellite bus technology and instruments with smart sensors for in-situ and remote sensing (camera, spectrometer).

Infrared Astronomy:

With the stratospheric researc observatory SOFIA and at IRS developed instruments research on star formation, interstellar matter and exoplanets is done. DSI is a center of excellence for airborne astronomy.
Lunar exploration with a small satellite is in preparation.

Chemical Propulsion:

The research is organized in cooperation with DLR, Institute of Space Propulsion, location Lampoldshausen. There are now grouped together all the activities of research and the operation of rocket test stands. The current research includes a focus on fundamental research on combustion processes in liquid rocket engines and air-breathing propulsion for future space transportation systems. There are in Germany unique test facilities for rocket propulsion, main stage and upper stage engines for tests under realistic conditions.

Remote Sensing of the Earth:

Based on the properties of the different sensor systems, methods for the retrieval of atmosphere and surface parameters and BRDF are analysed and if necessary newly developed. The algorithms will be validated in cooperation with partners of the departments regarding of the specific science.

Space Transportation Technology:

Analysis, design and development of thermal arcjets and MPD thrusters in the power´range between 0,5 kW and 1 MW. Material tests in high enthalpy plasma wind tunnels for thermal protection systems of re-entry space vehicles or for the use in combustion chambers.

Measurement Technology:

Development and qualification of measurement techniques for both plasma characterization and material characterization/development (thermal protection systems, combustion chambers, etc.). Analysis, design, development and qualification of in-flight measurement techniques and health monitoring systems. Measurement systems to characterize and monitor propulsion systems. Gas sensor technologies for natural and induced space environment.

Plasma Technology:

Development of plasma generators and plasma systems for material coating and refinement and removal of waste products.

Mission- and Systems Analysis:

Development of numerical analysis-, simulation- and optimization methods for flight performance prediction and design of future space vehicles. Mission and system studies serve to optimize both the flight performance and loads of different space transportation systems, orbit transfer and re-entry vehicles, and to support development of guidance concepts. Development of a small re-entry vehicle.


Numerical evaluations of aerothermodynamic loads of space vehicles during re-entry taking into consideration thermo-chemical relaxation processes in the gasphase and the real gas-surface-interaction as well as the gas radiation during highvelocity entry.

Nano Structures and Mesoscopic systems:

Development of nano structured semiconductor detectors for the FIR heterodyne spectroscopy for the use in SOFIA and satellites. Research on new materials. Theoretical investigations of electron transporting phenomena in small structures. Theoretical research of high temperature superconducters.


A wealth of research experience has been gained over many years in the abovementioned fields. Cooperation contacts with national and international scientific institutions and industry.


  • Satellite ground station with VHF-, UHF-, L-Band and S-Band antennas. Satellite control center. Ka-Band antenna in preparation.
  • Integration and test facilities for satellites
  • Satellite simulation environment and 3D visualization
  • Gas-testing laboratory for innovative solide-electrolyte-measuring sensors.
  • Space electronics laboratory
  • Machine shop
  • Computer network: 20 workstations, 70 PCs, access to main frames at University of Stuttgart (RUS)
  • Facilities for process development for industrial applications

Laboratory for plasma technology

A central vacuum pump system with an end pressure of 6.5 x 10-6 bar and a maximum suction power of > 250 000 m3/h at 10-1 mbar. More than 10 vacuum tanks of different sizes (1 m3 to 15 m3), high current rectifiers up to 6 MW are available. Radiofrequency generators with 375 kW input power and a frequency range from 0.5 to 1.5 MHz. Five plasma wind tunnels for investigation of material in high enthalpy gases (0.5 MJ/kg up to 150 MJ/kg) in a pressure range from 0.5 mbar up to 1.5 bar with plasma beam diameters up to 350 mm. Several thruster test units for electric propulsion in the power area 0.5 kW – 1 MW. Test unit for ion thrusters and external magnetic field MPD thrusters equipped with diffusion pumps. All test thruster test units have thrust measuring balances.


Stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy. Boeing 747-SP with IR-telescope and 2.7 m mirror diameter. The German SOFIA Institute at IRS is responsible for the German part of the operation of the German American project with home bases at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center/NASA Ames Research Center and Stuttgart.