Home  /  Newsroom  /  2021  /  The Netherlands ready to launch first military nanosatellite

Jan 27 2021

The Netherlands ready to launch first military nanosatellite

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands - The Dutch Ministry of Defence takes its initial steps into the Space domain with the launch of the first Dutch nanosatellite to orbit in mid-March by Virgin Orbit.

This military satellite - named BRIK-II after the first aircraft built for the precursor organisation of the Royal Netherlands Air Force in 1913 to explore the air domain - is an experimental project which has been set up in a unique collaboration commissioned by the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Modern societies have become dependent on satellites orbiting our planet both in civilian and military domains. Satellites enable the day-to-day use of navigation and communications systems; for the military satellite systems create both opportunities and threats.

We want to demonstrate that the BRIK-II nanosatellite is effective for relevant - also military - information and communication applications
The BRIK II nanosatellite, scheduled to launch in mid-March, is an experimental project which has been set up in a unique collaboration commissioned by the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Photo by Royal Netherlands Air Force.

NATO underlined the importance of Space at the end of 2019 by declaring Space as an operational domain and, subsequently, in the fall of 2020 by standing up the NATO Space Centre at Ramstein, Germany. The Dutch Ministry of Defence, in its Defence Vision 2035 describes, amongst others, the use of Space as an indispensable link within information-driven Armed Forces. 

The Royal Netherlands Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre cooperated with Dutch and international industry and think tanks to explore scalable and affordable capacities for military use of Space. Nanosatellites, slightly bigger than a milk carton, are less expensive than the traditional bigger satellites and can be launched into orbit on a bigger scale resulting in less vulnerable and more redundant system. The partners' intention is to demonstrate that the BRIK-II nanosatellite is effective for relevant - also military - information and communication applications.

The first Dutch nanosatellite is named BRIK-II symbolising the development of the Dutch aerospace since 1913, when Marinus van Meel built ‘The BRIK’ which was the first aircraft for the ‘Luchtvaartafdeeling’ (nowadays known as Royal Netherlands Air Force). This plane was used to explore the domain of aviation. Photo courtesy Collection Netherlands Institute for Military History.

The construction of BRIK-II demonstrates innovative skills in developing relevant military and/or dual-use capabilities. The company Innovative Solutions in Space (ISISPACE) located in Delft is the designer and integrator of BRIK-II. Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) has developed a sophisticated instrument based on new technologies which will be put into practice on BRIK-II.

The construction of the BRIK-II nanosatellite demonstrates the innovative abilities the Dutch industry and knowledge institutes in developing relevant military and/or dual-use capabilities. Photo courtesy Royal Netherlands Air Force.
Furthermore there is a collaboration nationally with the Delft University of Technology and internationally with the University of Oslo. The US-based company Virgin Orbit has been selected to carry out the launch of BRIK-II. 

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office based on information provided by the Royal Netherlands Air Force Public Affairs Office 

Search our content:

Address

HQ Allied Air Command
Flugplatz Ramstein
66877 Ramstein-Miesenbach
Germany

Media Operations

Public Affairs Office
Building/Gebäude 313
66877 Ramstein-Miesenbach
Germany