Observing our future
Observing our future
Observing our future
How clean is the air that we breathe?
High-Tech in Holland
Cutting-edge science from space

Our air needs to be clean and healthy. But the question is this, how clean is it really and how are we affecting it? Satellites have brought a painful reality into the open. Human activities (e.g. traffic, heavy industry) are causing alarming amounts of gasses and dust. But by means of agreements laid down internationally, we seek to take air quality to the required standard. With its unprecedentedly detailed view,

Tropomi (TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument) makes perfectly clear how air pollution is caused and whether international agreements indeed pay off. It is how air polluters are displayed, which allows us to see whether countries are observing the existing climate agreements, and warn pilots on time about any erupting volcanoes making flights unsafe.

Which questions does Tropomi provide an answer to? Copernicus: our earth in focus


The satellite instrument known as Tropomi provides a new standard when atmospheric research is involved. Its unprecedented accuracy helps scientists analyse the atmosphere down to molecular levels. Such is only feasible with high-tech innovations, like immersed grating and freeform optics (both were designed by Dutch engineers). Tropomi maps the atmosphere from space where extreme conditions require solid, reliable and light equipment at the same time.

Designing high-precision instruments that meet aerospace’s strictest requirements has been a Dutch field of expertise for decades.

How does Tropomi work on the inside? Tropomi’s predecessors


Climate change is an undeniable fact. But what exactly is changing? And at what speed? How do we interfere? And what are the consequences for mankind? We can only answer questions such as these provided we have access to reliable data, collected over a long period of time. Tropomi is called in to map the earth’s atmosphere every single day, quite meticulously. It is how we can see precisely how air quality changes.

Since the 1950s, the Netherlands has been developing and building satellite instruments to ensure groundbreaking science. This rich tradition makes us a global player when it comes to space research and the technology involved.

Find out where we stand



12 October 2017
With Tropomi, we are pushing things to the limit
‘You only experience a project like Tropomi a few times during your working life,’ says Nick van der Valk,...

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19 July 2015
Dutch instrument Tropomi ready for launch, united with satellite Sentinel 5p
The Dutch atmospheric instrument Tropomi is ready for launch and has succesfully been attached to its satellite, Sentinel 5p....

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9 July 2014
Dutch researchers make air quality forecast for World Cup football tournament
At the World Cup football tournament in Brazil, the Dutch national team have been playing in different cities under...

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Facts & FAQ


Tropomi measures direct sunlight and compares it to light reflected by the atmosphere.

more facts


Tropomi timeline