The Swedish Institute of Space Physics

at the edge of the world and at the forefront of technology

The Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) is a state research institute under the Ministry of Education. IRF conducts basic research and postgraduate education in space physics, space technology and atmospheric physics. IRF has operations in Kiruna, Umeå, Uppsala and Lund. The head office is in Kiruna.

IRF has 60 years of experience in developing measuring instruments for space research projects and participates in several large international collaborative projects where satellites and ground-based equipment are used. Maybe you recognize some of these space projects. IRF has had instruments on these and many more.

  • Comet Interceptor (2028)
  • JUICE (2022)
  • Solar Orbiter (2020)
  • Chang’e 4 (2018)
  • Venus Express (2005)
  • Rosetta (2004)
  • Mars Express (2003)
  • Cassini (1997)
  • Viking (1986)

To understand space and its influence on our everyday life

Knowledge within IRF’s research areas is necessary to understand nature in general and the global processes that affect people in their everyday lives. Among other things, IRF contributes with research on processes in the polar atmosphere through observations and analysis of data with a focus on the Arctic and Antarctic. IRF is an experienced and recognized research institute when it comes to developing instruments sent to planets within the solar system. The data that is sent back to Earth will provide scientists with work for many years to come.

IRF has an extensive infrastructure for research with many advanced research environments

ALIS (Auroral Large Imaging System) – light-sensitive cameras for aurora studies
EISCAT (European Incoherent Scatter) – a radar system for meteor and ionospheric studies (including auroras) operated by the EISCAT Scientific Association
ESRAD – an MST radar for atmospheric studies in Kiruna
MARA – an atmospheric radar in Antarctica
NLC camera system – for studies of nocturnal clouds
SpaceLab – facility for the development, testing and calibration of space instruments.

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Development of space instruments is complicated. The instruments must be able to cope with the conditions prevailing in space. Careful testing and calibration is indispensable.