(Ended Mar. 2017)


IRASSI - Infrared Astronomy Satellite Swarm Interferometry, is a joint project between Menlo Systems GmbH, Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy Heidelberg, TU Braunschweig Institut für Flugführung, and Universität der Bundeswehr München. It is a feasibility study for a space based Mid-IR interferometric telescope mission, that would be located 1.5 million km from the Earth and composed by a constellation of five satellites with intersatellite distances tracked to unprecedented precision. Its aim is to further develop the understanding of star and thus planet formation, by simultaneously implementing new technologies with regard to observation instruments, ranging detection systems and formation flying.

The outline of the IRASSI mission concept study was built on precursor missions and mission concepts like DARWIN. Missions such as Planck and Herschel paved the way for observation and cataloguing of galaxy clusters, for studying the Milky Way and the interstellar medium in the infrared and far-infrared fields respectively at the Lagrange L2 location.

In this project Menlo Systems will develop a breadboard demonstrator for a fast and universal multi-comb-based laser ranging system. Technologies developed in projects like FOKUS will be further significantly advanced for future space applications.

This project is supported by German Aerospace Center (DLR) and funded by Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).


  • Study MIR formation flight telescope at L2
  • Develop multiple comb demonstrator breadboard for intersatellite ranging with µm precision and kHz duty cycle
  • Advance technologies for exoplanet research and study of early solar system formation
  • Develop multi-target formation flight system
  • Demonstrate advanced frequency comb based ranging technologies