System Design & Integration

The System Design and Integration group at ASTRON is responsible for the system design and the integration tests for instrument development for in the research in radio astronomy. System engineering covers all requirements for the instrument. Unless otherwise agreed in the project plan, this includes the scientific requirements from antennas to imaging as well as environmental requirements, maintenance, repair strategy up to formal approvals and shipping formalities.

The system design starts with full understanding of the science cases defined by astronomers. The requirements formulated from the science cases are defined in astronomy terms in the ‘Level 0' requirements. Translating the Level-0 requirements to Level-1 requirements (into technical terms) is realised by the project scientist with contribution from the system engineer. The project scientist furthermore defines the commissioning plan for testing against the L-0 requirements.

The system engineers translate the L-1 requirements into L-2 requirements in engineering terms and allow for further breakdown in more detailed requirements by the engineering groups. To do this, the instrument is decomposed into an optimised set of units including an interface description between the units. Normally detailed studies and several iterations are necessary to define this optimization. The research results will be made public by presenting them at international conferences and (reviewed) papers.

An integration plan shall prove the translation from L-1 to L-2 is performed correctly. Therefore the system engineer and integration engineer define the L1 integration plan.



The SDI group asks for assistance in case the required level of detailed expertise is not available in the group. This is especially the case for software where the computing group will be consulted and the environmental requirements where the Technical Support Group will be consulted.

As the system design and integration requires a view on the complete scientific instrument, the group is a natural home base for technical project managers.

The SDI group will focus on contributing to, and assuring that the mentioned process is followed in the various SKA and LOFAR projects. During the projects, experience is collected to improve the process such that an effective method in system engineering for scientific instruments can be realised.

The SD&I group consists of the following people:

André Gunst - Competence Group Leader a.i. 

Koos Kegel - Senior Engineer 

Pieter Benthem - Project Leader Phased Array Systems

Lars Venema - Senior Researcher

Hans van der Marel - System Engineer 

René Kaptijn - project manager 

Agnes Mika - project manager 



Design: Kuenst.    Development: Dripl.    © 2021 ASTRON