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Spacetek (commercialization of disruptive mass spectrometers for terrestrial applications)

Spacetek Technology AG is a spin-off company of the University of Bern, Switzerland, that produces compact mass spectrometers for real-time industrial process monitoring and surveillance applications.

The company builds on the knowhow from space exploration in terms of both technology and expertise. The technology used in the mass spectrometers has been tested on Earth in a stratospheric balloon mission (figure below), in space on the Rosetta mission of the European Space Agency, and it has been qualified for a forthcoming landing mission to the Moon’s pole in search of water and other trace chemicals. The core team at Spacetek Technology is the same that was responsible for the development of these instruments at the University of Bern.

The commercialization of the ion optical system, which is based on the NGMS lunar instrument, fits perfect into the NCCR Technology Platform. The academic research partner is the Space Research & Planetary Sciences Department of the Physics Institute, University of Bern.


The commercialized mass spectrometer shall address a broad range of customers with the need of a powerful instrument at a competitive price. The instrument is suitable for process control, product quality control, and environmental monitoring. Customers include industries (e.g., semiconductor, energy, automotive) and public utilities (e.g., water utilities) that need to monitor in real-time the quality of liquids or gases.


Hofer, P. Wurz, A. Buch, M. Cabane, P. Coll, D. Coscia, M. Gerasimov, D. Lasi, A. Sapgir, C. Szopa, and M. Tulej, “Prototype of the gas chromatograph – mass spectrometer to investigate volatile species in the lunar soil for the Luna-Resurs mission,” Plant. Sp. Sci., 111 (2015) 126–133.


PlanetS partner: Nicolas Thomas.
NON-PlanetS partners: Peter Wurz, Physics Institute, Universität Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, CH-3012 Bern, (email), and Jürg Jost (CEO), Spacetek Technology AG, Brüggliweg 18, CH-3073 Gümligen, Switzerland, (email).

The 2008 launch from Esrange (Sweden) of the stratospheric balloon mission MEAP carrying P-BACE: the precursor of the NGMS instrument

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