Scientific project

ULiège and CSL involved in the Space4Relaunch project

TPhoto : ESA

Improving satellite observation of the Earth in order to collect more refined data to better assess man's footprint and advancing in the development of new reusable launchers, these are the two main axes planned by the Walloon Region's excellent Space4Relaunch programme. The University of Liège and the CSL (Centre Spatial de Liège) will be heavily involved in both parts of the project, including Win4Space, which they coordinate.


he Win4Excellence programme of the Walloon Region (WR) aims to finance ambitious research and to encourage universities to collaborate strongly with each other on large-scale projects in technologies considered promising in terms of future economic benefits for Wallonia. The long-term objective is to structure collaboration between these partners in cutting-edge fields.

Among the key themes supported by the WR are those related to the space sector. This is the case of the Space4Relaunch project, which has two components: the first, Win4Space, which focuses on the Earth Observation sector, and the second, Win4Relaunch, which focuses on launchers/space transportation in a reusable dimension. ULiège and CSL are involved in both parts of the project, the first of which they coordinate.


The Win4Space component, which focuses on Earth observation from existing satellite constellations and the development of new concepts, is coordinated by Serge Habraken, professor at the STAR Institute of ULiège and (or Chairman of the Steering Committee, I'll let you choose which is more appropriate), Director of Academic and Scientific Affairs of the Centre Spatial de Liège (CSL), in partnership with the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and the Walloon research and innovation centres Cenaero, Multitel and Sirris. Win4Space covers the on-board instruments, the satellite platform, the transfer of satellite-ground data and data processing," explains Serge Habraken. The aim is to provide solutions and improvements throughout the satellite chain, from design to data processing.

Win4Space aims in particular to exploit the potential of "NewSpace" to meet the societal challenge of managing the human footprint on the environment by providing intelligent management and monitoring of human activity using satellite constellations. A project that aims to strengthen the excellence and skills of university laboratories, useful to the local industrial fabric, through research focused on the theme of Earth observation. The research will be carried out through doctoral theses that will enable the production of scientific and technical knowledge as well as its perpetuation through high-level training necessary for Walloon SMEs in the sector.

In total, 20 doctoral theses will involve ULiège, UCLouvain and ULB as well as the Sirris, Cenaero and Multitel research centres and will respond to technological "challenges" in line with the strategy of industrialists.


This second part focuses on reusable launchers, both at the level of the launcher itself and the problems of its re-entry and the placement of nanosats / smallsats in the precise orbit desired. Led by the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in partnership with ULiège, UCL and the research and innovation centres Cenareo, Sirris and Multitel, Win4ReLaunch will focus on two lines of research: Systems4ReLaunch on valves for reusable space launchers and DigitalTwin4ReLaunch on reusable actuation systems for launchers.

Serge Habraken : "Thanks to these projects, but also thanks to the investments related to the Technological Platform of Excellence (PTE), the Walloon Region demonstrates its strong involvement in the field of space science and technology for the benefit of humanity. While Win4Excellence allows us to fund researchers, the ETP allows us to invest in state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure directly related to the above-mentioned R&D projects. This is a unique opportunity for our universities but also, of course, for our research and industrial centres active in the field of space! Belgium and Wallonia in particular have long been major players in this field and wish to remain so thanks to initiatives like this one! - Serge Habraken.

These projects are part of the Strategic Innovation Initiatives (SII), following the definition of the Intelligent Specialisation Strategy (S3) in Wallonia, a strategy promoted by the European Commission. ULiège is also involved in the FOODWal project portfolio: PROTEBoost, MICROBoost and PEPTIBoost, the last of which it coordinates.


Serge Habraken

ODD 15 : Vie terrestre
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