Eye On Orbit is a company devoted to bringing developments in space exploration and commerce to society and business. To the stars and beyond!

Eye On Orbit provides:

Contact: / +31-(0)6 152 79 540
Chamber of Commerce (KvK) registration-number: 56949197
VAT# / btw-id: NL002106181B87 
Public key for private communication:

Erik C. Laan, MSc., Space Industry Professional (Curriculum Vitae as of September 10, 2021)
Technical specialist in optical science instrument satellite payloads with system engineering experience in the field of space robotics and microgravity & in-situ exploration payloads. My technical specialities are Space Systems Engineering, i.e., the Science/User/Mission-requirements to System requirements to testing/analysis definition flowdown, and Scientific data analysis. I am deeply intimate with what is going on in the Global Space Industry. All the intelligence I gather is fed into my future Space missions intelligence database. I really enjoy entertaining audiences that are keen to learn more about Space and all its dimensions.

Erik handling the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) Flight Model 
Founder, Eye On Orbit, September 2013 - present
Eye On Orbit is a company devoted to bringing developments in space exploration and commerce to society and business. To the stars and beyond! Eye On Orbit provides a broad understanding of the international Space Industry in combination with Systems Engineering skills.

Lecturer Aeronautical & Precision Engineering, InHolland, January 2020 - present
Preparing the next generation of engineers for the Space challenges of the future. Coordinator of the Space Engineering Minor for 4th year students and lecturer of the courses Astrodynamics & Orbit Mechanics, and Space Applications & Mission Analysis.

Space Systems Technologist, TNO, January 2012 - September 2013:
Involved in development of optomechanical attitude & orbit control sensors and Earth observation instrumentation such as:

  • SINPLEX (Small Integrated Navigator for Planetary EXploration): Lead system engineer in an international FP7 Space cooperative project with German, Swedish and Dutch companies and industries to integrate star trackers, navigation cameras, inertial measurement units and laser altimeters into one integrated instrument package for interplanetary navigation. This all-in-one navigation system will be critical in planetary and asteroid landing missions and in-orbit servicing of spacecraft
  • SWIMS (hyper Spectral Water Imaging & Monitoring System): System engineer for a coastal zone and in-land water quality monitoring system from orbit.
R&D (Vraaggestuurd Programma (VP)) manager Space, TNO, March 2010 – December 2011:
Managed the 4.3 Million Euro R&D programme for Space & Science instrumentation and applications. This R&D programme is funded by the ministry of economic affairs. The programme is driven by business cases for Earth Obervation, Astronomy and Space Science, Sensors and Small Satellite Systems.

Innovator, TNO Science & Industry, October 2007 – February 2010: Involved in development of (optical) instrumentation for planetary exploration missions such as:
  • the Spectropolarimeter for Planetary EXploration (SPEX) to characterize by remote sensing the microphysical particles of dust particles in the Martian atmosphere. Key feature of this instrument is that it is capable of measuring the phase function of both the scattered intensity and the degree of polarisation of a target volume.
  • the Raman/(LIBS) instrument for ESA’s ExoMars mission and Odyssey Moon’s MoonOne mission, involved in the Google Lunar X-Prize, to characterize in-situ the molecular and mineralogical content of planetary samples
  • the Biodetect instrument, an instrument to monitor the microbiological content of samples by Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (Q-PCR), aimed to fly onboard the International Space Station ISS
Technical Specialist, Airbus Defense & Space, September 1998 - September 2007: Involved in proposals and phase-A (mission-) studies related to instrumentation and robotic devices for planetary science and ISS applications (Eurobot, Dexarm, ExoMars Life Marker Chip (LMC)). Took part in the development of the remote sensing instrument OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument). Key achievements include successful reviews of the instrument performance and data processing software and a successful delivery of the instrument to the customer. In addition to the former project duties, I was responsible within Dutch Space for maintaining the knowledge fields Orbit Mechanics and Optical Engineering and as such provided consultancy for mission analysis and payload accommodation aspects within projects.

Scientist, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, May 1997 - June 1998: Worked on data analysis of validation measurements taken with a ground-based optical remote sensing instrument (GOME Breadboard Model). Validation was performed using the in-orbit version of the instrument (GOME on ESA's ERS-2 satellite). Key achievements include the development of a physical model of specific processes occurring with cooled detectors in space (thermo-vacuum effects).

Engineer, Airbus Defense & Space, August 1996 - April 1997:
Worked within a project team aimed at proposing an optical instrument for a European remote sensing satellite (OMI-ImS for EUMETSAT/ESA Metop satellite series). Key achievements include rapidly adapting instrument concept modifications to new and/or evolving user requirements.

Professional training:
  • Summer Session Program at the International Space University (ISU).
  • Southampton Spacecraft Systems Engineering Course.
  • SKAR (Stof en KiemArme Ruimtes) training. This training is required for working in cleanroom 100 facilities.
  • Systems Engineering Training.
  • Environmental Engineering workshops.
  • Erik with the ASTU spectrometer
  • Optical Design & Engineering training.
Academic education:
Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 1991 – August 1996. During my study, I specialized in instrumentation used for remote sensing of the earth’s atmosphere, successfully earning my Masters degree in Physics. Download my Master thesis here.

Main publications, reports and awards:
  • “The value of Space applications with miniaturized instruments”, paper presented at the IAC, Prague, September 2010
  • "Moon4You: A combined Raman / LIBS instrument for Lunar exploration", paper presented at SPIE 2009, SPIE 7441A-42
  • Co-inventor of a concept for a "Sample preparation system, swab unit and base station". This ultimately led to my previous employer to file for a patent.
  • “Scattering matrices and expansion coefficients of Martian analogue palagonite particles”, paper published in Icarus, January 2009, DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2008.08.011
  • “The Spectropolarimeter for Planetary EXploration – SPEX”, paper presented at the International Conference on Space Optics, Toulouse, France, October 2008
  • "A low-mass lander mission to Mars: Science and public relations", paper co-authord for the IAC, Valencia, October 2006
  • "Bringing together space professionals and schools with the 'RuimteWijs' project", poster presented at the IAC, Valencia, October 2006
  • "Proceedings of the Next Generation Exploration Conference (NGEC)" (137 Mb), lead-editor of Earth 3.0 Working Group report
  • “The Life Marker Chip (LMC) onboard the ExoMars rover”, paper presented at the fourth International Planetary Probe Workshop (IPPW4), Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, USA, July 2006
  • "SPEX A SPECTROPOLARIMETER FOR PLANETARY EXPLORATION ONBOARD THE EXOMARS ORBITER", paper presented at the fourth International Planetary Probe Workshop (IPPW4), Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, USA, July 2006
  • Recipient of a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center group award in recognition of my contribution to the EOS Aura satellite programme, June 2005
  • "Concepts for a first generation of hybrid and inflatable habitats with in-situ resource utilisation for Moon, Mars and Phobos", paper co-authored for the IAC, Fukuoka-Japan, Oktober 2005)
  • “The influence of irregularly shaped dust on reflectivity and polarization of the Martian atmosphere”, poster presented at the first Mars Express Science Conference, ESTEC, the Netherlands, March 2005.
  • “Advances in Planetary Aerobots”, paper presented at the IAC, Vancouver, Canada, October 2004.    
  • “Towards the use of the Ozone Monitoring Instrument”, paper presented SPIE’s 8th International Symposium on Remote Sensing, Sensors, Systems and Next Generation Satellites, Toulouse, France, SPIE 4540A-40, September 2001.
  • "Ozone Monitoring in the next millennium with the OMI instrument", paper presented at the IAC, Amsterdam, Oktober 1999.
  • “Hazards to Spaceflight”, final report, International Space University Summer Session Program, Cleveland, USA, August 1998.
  • “GOBELIN - GOME BBM (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment BreadBoard Model) instrument characterization final report”, Space Research Organization Netherlands (SRON), May 1998.
  • “Airborne and Ground-based measurements with the DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy) spectrometer ASTU (Airborne Spectrometer for Tracegases and Underflights)”, Masters Thesis, De Vrije Universiteit & Fokker Space, June 1996.
Additional activities during university study and job:
  • Member of the editorial review board of the Int. Journal of Space Technology, Management and Innovation (IJSTMI) from june 2011 till october 2013
  • Secretary of the Comparitive Planetology Working Group of the Netherlands Platform for Planetary Research NPP from 2008-2012
  • Invited participant and workgroup moderator at the Next Generation Exploration Conference (NGEC) at NASA Ames Research Center, August 2006
  • Co-chair of session on Sensors, Instruments and Sample Acquisition Systems during the fourth International Planetary Probe Workshop (IPPW4), Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, USA, July 2006.
  • Boardmember of the Netherlands Society for Aerospace NVR from 2002 - 2012.
  • Member of Planetary Habitat workshop organization team, ESTEC, the Netherlands, April 2005.
  • Panel expert for MoonMars workshop during International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Vancouver, Canada, October 2004.
  • Dutch delegate for the Space Generation Summit held at the World Space Congress in Houston, USA, October 2002.
  • Secretary of the European Alumni Association (EAA) of the International Space University (ISU). During this period organized the ISU Alumni Conference, Bremen, Germany, February 2001 – February 2002.
  • Student representative in the Physics and Astronomy Faculty advisory board at the Vrije Universiteit.
  • Lecturer for the high-school course 'Space & Stars', 1994 – 1998.
  • Track & Field athlete on national level (1990 – 1994) in the events decathlon, long-jump and pole-vault.

Computer skills:
Familiar with the following operating systems: Windows, Linux and Unix. Familiar with the following data analysis applications and coding languages: IDL, Python, C++, Fortran, MatLab, MathCad, Systems Tool Kit (STK)

Language skills:
Fluent in Dutch and English, good in German, fair in Italian, limited in French.

References: Available upon request.

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