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New atmosphere instrument on International Space Station looking for thunderstorms


The ASIM (Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor) experiment was launched on April 2 from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon-9 launcher. The installation of ASIM using the robotic arm of the space station is scheduled for Friday, April 13, 2018.

ASIM is an earth observation system intended for the study of violent storms and their influence on the atmosphere and the climate on earth. Above lightning and thunderclouds, terrestrial gamma-ray bursts and short-term light phenomena, known under the collective name Transient Luminous Events (TLE), develop at a very high altitude.

ASIM looks for the relationship between these phenomena, both of which result from electrical discharge, and their creation mechanism.

Belgian responsibility

B.USOC (Belgian User Support and Operations Center), the ESA center is responsible for the ASIM infrastructure and ensures:

  • the preparation and execution of the payload operations
  • the delivery of the data to the scientific teams

Located in the buildings of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), B.USOC supports space missions and experiments in space that are linked to Belgian research. This center receives support from the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO).

The ASIM project is a Danish initiative with participation of:

  • the Technical University of Denmark
  • the University of Bergen
  • the University of Valencia the University of Ferrara
  • the University of Bologna

Main researcher is Torsten Neubert. The Danish company TERMA was responsible for the development of ASIM.


  • Karolien Lefever (Head of the Communication Department) +32-(0)2 37 30 450
  • Michel Kruglanski (B.USOC team manager) +32-(0)2 37 30 420
News image 1
News image legend 1
Thunderstorm seen from the space station. Credits: DTU Space, ESA, NASA
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News image legend 2
Danish ASIM experiment installed on the outside of the European Columbus module of the ISS