Aerospace-related competences & expertise


New Space revolution, clean aviation, multi-messenger astronomy… In recent times, the aeronautics and space sectors have been experiencing radical advancements, which are of economic and scientific interest to CERN Member States. Thanks to its remarkable technologies, facilities and know-how, CERN plays a crucial role in aerospace.

Aerospace and particle physics share many technical similarities in terms of operational environments. Both sectors need components capable of functioning in harsh radiation environments, extreme temperatures and high vacuum conditions.  Moreover, they both need to be able to handle large amounts of data quickly and autonomously.

Performed in orbit around the Earth to avoid atmospheric effects, fundamental physics missions in space have much in common with CERN’s underground experiments. Many synergies exist, in particular between particle and astroparticle physics experiments, including but not limited to detection capabilities.

Maximising the positive impact of its research on society is integral to CERN’s mission. Aerospace applications carry strong opportunities in areas such as human and robotic exploration, long-distance transportation, climate change and environment monitoring, disaster prevention, advanced telecommunication and geolocalisation.

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Unique infrastructures for irradiation testing and cryogenics validation
Aerospace applications strategy, partnerships & key numbers

Aerospace-related competences & expertise

CERN has developed radiation monitoring devices, dosimetry sensors as well as instruments to accurately measure radiations in space, predict and prevent damage to electronics and harmful effects on astronauts.

CERN develops and explores radiation-hardened technologies suitable for the most challenging space missions requiring very high reliability.

CERN works hand-in-hand with companies and organisations to improve the radiation tolerance of advanced space systems by design optimisation and commercial-off-the-shelf components screening/selection.

Superconducting technologies enable future environment-friendly aeroplanes and breakthrough space applications.

CERN develops very small and efficient cooling devices, as well as advanced materials and processes for high-thermal flux control.

CERN manages large quantities of data regularly which is crucial for many aerospace applications: from astrophysics and Earth observation, to traffic control and aircraft engines performance monitoring.

Data analysis algorithms, artificial intelligence and quantum computing support ambitious European projects for environment protection and climate change adaptation of our society.

CERN has unique ground installations, especially irradiation and cryogenic facilities, enabling validation and qualification testing of aerospace equipment.