EU funding for space research

Space research projects coordinated by the University of Helsinki received approximately €4 million of EU funding.

EU funding for space research

It has been a challenge forecasting particle radiation which originates from solar storms (i.e., solar flares) and poses a hazard to satellites, because charged particles do not at all move in a linear way in the solar system.

– What we need is a method for deducing the particle flux conditions in the radiation source near the Sun on the basis of the particle flux and electromagnetic radiation measured in Earth's near space, says Rami Vainio, university lecturer.

According to Vainio, this theme has been studied for decades now, but it still is unknown how the Sun accelerates particles to such high energy levels. The objective of the SEPServer project, managed by Vainio, is to establish a server for compiling detailed data of solar flares during an activity period of 11 years.

Individual photons identified from the early universe

The mission of the E-SQUID project is to develop sensitive, high-resolution measuring equipment for the purposes of astronomy. X-ray radiation, ending up in the sensor from the farthest locations in the universe, is in practice measured as individual photons whose energy, direction and time of incidence are carefully measured. In fact, the project aims to globally reach the top in the signal-to-noise ratio, the same level as US-based researchers are on.

– You really can't do better than that, since only statistical noise will remain after that, and it is impossible to remove it, says Juhani Huovelin, research coordinator.

According to Huovelin, they have obtained Europe's leading experts in the development of the planned technologies as partners in the project. The University of Helsinki will actively utilise the technologies under development.

– Our aim is to have measuring equipment that will provide the best available data for astronomers, says Huovelin.

The “Data services and Analysis Tools for Solar Energetic Particle Events and Related Electromagnetic Events” (SEPServer) project received €1.932 million of funding for 36 months from the Seventh Framework Programme of the EU. The share of the University of Helsinki is €353,000. The project has 11 partners from six countries. In Finland, the universities of Oulu and Turku are also involved.

The E-SQUID received €1.999 of EU funding for 38 months. The share of the University of Helsinki is approximately €527,000. The project, coordinated by the University of Helsinki, involves the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), the Finland-based Aivon Oy, and five international partners.

Text: Milla Karvonen
Photo: NASA/courtesy of
Translation: AAC Global

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