The activities at IASF Bologna involve the use of equipment, work stations, machines and devices that are used in the design, development, testing and calibration of instruments, telescopes and detectors, mainly dedicated to space operations.
The Institute has special equipment such as clean rooms, a thermo-vacuum chamber and cryogenic equipment to test space instrumentation under extreme conditions. It also contains common areas used for testing and space qualification of systems to be fitted on board stratospheric balloons and satellites.
Added to these are a radioisotope bank, laboratories for the development and calibration of X and gamma radiation detectors and a high-performance computing center for the analysis of data from space missions.

Large Equipment Bay

This room is used for the integration and assembly of large space instrumentation, for performing the qualification tests for scientific apparatus, for the simulation of space environment using a thermobaric chamber and for handling heavy hardware with the use of cranes.

The room (18 × 12 m2 and 12 m in height) is equipped with:

– Bridge Crane with a capacity up to 3 tons,

– A large (6.1m) sliding door providing direct access from outside for bulky loads.

Thermo vacuum chamber

The Institute continues to maintain the availability of equipment and common areas for the testing and qualification of systems for use on both stratospheric balloons and satellites.

In particular, the institute houses a large (4.6 x 3 m) thermal vacuum chamber of cylindrical inner section with 2m base diameter and 2m depth.

The system is able to perform temperature and pressure cycles separately and / or simultaneously with:

-Temperature between -60 ° C to 100 ° C and

-Pressure down to 1 mBar

for testing the operation of even large space instrumentation.

X-ray room

The X-ray room is a laboratory area of about 11 × 7 m with shielding for X-rays up to 500 keV; the instrumentation under test in the room can be controlled remotely from a small workshop next door.

The room hosts contains a calibrator for X-rays up to 200 keV and an X-ray source which functions up to about 15 keV.

– The for X-ray calibrator is an apparatus capable of producing within the test area a collimated beam of radiation with a continuously selectable energy between 10 and 200 keV. The principle of operation is based on the refraction of radiation by a crystal wherein a broad-spectrum X-ray beam is incident on a crystal ‘monochromator’ and only the wavelengths that satisfy a specific geometry (Bragg’s law) are reflected. The system comprises a tube which emits a wide-spectrum X-ray beam, various mechanical collimators, a crystal monochromator and a 6-axis system (3 rotation and 3 translations) for positioning the instrumentation under test relative to the calibrator .

– The X-ray source allows the isolation and use of fluorescence (hence very narrow) lines, from lightweight alloys with a maximum applicable voltage of ’20 kV.

Machine Shop

This is a large workshop, adjacent to the room containing the bridge crane, with a loft for storage use, containing various equipment for activities of a technical / mechanical nature including the possibility of using machine tools such as lathes, milling machines, a band saw, drills and general work for the manufacture of equipment, and mechanical equipment used by the various research groups for the construction of experimental apparatus.
Moreover, laboratory 604 on the fourth floor is also occasionally used for small mechanical tasks and optical bonding involving the use of small quantities of two-component epoxy resins, silicone resins and adhesives.

Clean room

The clean room (class 1:10000) is located on the fourth floor and contains a laminar flow area of class up to 1000, an ultrasonic cleaning tank and a chamber for climate simulations.

This room is used for the assembly and qualification tests of flight equipment that may occasionally involve the use of sealed radioactive sources.

Operations are also performed on flight prototype instrumentation that requires a high level of cleanliness and/or the use of optical microscopes.


In addition to these common areas and facilities, the Institute has laboratories, both for physics and electronics, dedicated to the experimental activities of individual lines of research.

The laboratory activities dedicated to the various experiments support projects described in the Section “observational facility”.

The laboratories are primarily used for techno-scientific activities, for instrument calibration and characterisation, which can involve the use of radioactive sources, cryostats, high voltage power supplies and equipment for analysis and data processing.

Cryogenic systems

The experience gained through the development of instrumentation for space missions furnishes IASF Bologna with a significant amount of infrastructure offering, in addition to the design and modeling of cryogenic systems, the ability to cool and control instruments, including large objects, at different cryogenic temperatures and to measure their physical properties under these conditions.

The institute has two cryogenic chambers, capable of housing medium-sized cryogenic instrumentation or subsystems designed for applications on various platforms (space, balloon or ground).

Calculation for Astrophysics

The Institute has always made full use of information technology.

The Computing Centre of IASF Bologna is responsible for managing the computer network and independently provides all services necessary for user support. In particular these are: connection to the network, network services (mail, Web, Home, FTP, DNS, NIS, NAT, Samba, NTP, Monitoring), calculation, backup, security, printing service, installation and maintenance of scientific software, user support.

Thanks to the extraordinary evolution and corresponding reduction in IT costs, the Institute has managed to create its own Structure Informatics Service (SIS) with high-speed local network equipment that connects about 50 servers, 340 processors, 370 gigabytes of RAM and 400 disk drives containing 206 Terabytes of space for archives.

The SIS, using the skills available through the various research projects, organizes and updates the resources available to meet the needs of computation and storage, provides advice to users and, through advanced security systems and authentication, provides the basic Internet services such as email, web, and video conferencing.

Multimedia devices

The 2 meeting rooms located on the premises of IASF Bologna are equipped with the following multimedia systems:

-2nd Floor Meeting Room (Room 409)
• Projection system for presentations using a personal computer and / or video conferencing
• Videoconferencing System
• Telephone conferencing system (Speakerphone)

-3rd Floor Meeting Room (Room 505)
• Projection system via personal computer
• Touch screen Personal Computer for audio and Videoconference via Skype and for presentations
• Telephone conferencing system (Speakerphone)