OSCAR-QUBE aboard space station ISS

Welcome to the webpage of OSCAR-QUBE, an interdisciplinary student project aiming at the development of the next generation of magnetic field sensors based on NV centers in diamond and quantum operating principles. Here you can find all information about our space mission and the years of work to achieve it.

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QUBE Return Poster

OSCAR-QUBE Return Event


The time has come… After nearly a year onboard the ISS, the OSCAR-QUBE device is returning to its birthplace, the UHasselt. Our mission has always been to motivate students and show them that everything is possible. We now want to take this opportunity to execute on that and throw a big event to celebrate the return of our experiment back to Earth and tell the story about our journey on the 8th of March 2023 starting at 13:00. Highlighting that we all started as students, got together, and reached space in the end. Setting an example for all new students and the ones to come.

As we want to motivate and inspire, we are bringing you additional talks. This way we don’t just tell our story, but include multiple perspectives on why teamwork, interdisciplinarity, and inspiration are essential in driving innovation. Making the event even more valuable for both young and more experienced minds.

Are you curious who will be those speakers? Register now and we will keep you updated on the speakers and their topics, as it will be announced in a couple of weeks!

Programme draft

The event starts in the afternoon to create a relaxed atmosphere and allow more people to join. It consists of three segments: Meet & Greet to let people come in and get seated, Presentations culminating into the QUBE return & display reveal, and a Networking session with a company exhibition. We include a short coffee break between the presentations to keep energy levels in check and to start already some informal networking.

  • 13:00    Meet & greet
  • 13:25    Welcome word + schedule
  • 13:30    Inspirational presentations
  • 15:00    Coffee break
  • 15:15    Presentations about OSCAR
  • 15:35    OSCAR Presentation culminating into QUBE reveal
  • 16:15    Networking & space sector exhibition
  • 22:00    Event closure

After these talks the OSCAR story will be told with the big reveal at the end! This doesn’t mean the event is going to be over. There will be a networking event with all sorts of stands representing companies that are innovative and/or in the space industry. Creating amazing opportunities to connect to these businesses and projects, showing them what all can be done and is within reach.

The registrations will be used to monitor the capacity of the event, prepare the nametags and to ensure we have enough snacks and drinks for all of you!

So, if that sounds interesting to you, don’t forget to sign up here and join us on the 8th of March 2023! 

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Who are we?

We are team OSCAR-QUBE, an interdisciplinary team of UHasselt students and the research institute imo-imomec (UHasselt & imec). It consists of very different disciplines: bachelors, masters and PhDs, engineers and physicists. For years, our mission has been to bring quantum sensing directly from the lab to space. On August 28 2021, it  finally happened. Aboard the SpaceX CRS 23, our diamond-based quantum magnetometer has departed for the ISS space station. The OSCAR-QUBE project was developed as a topic that is addressed within the Quantum Science & Technology research domain.

Frequently asked questions

What do we do?

During the third iteration of the OSCAR project (see also 'how OSCAR-QUBE came to be'), we developed a diamond-based quantum magnetometer to map magnetic fields. The European Space Agency, ESA, selected OSCAR-QUBE within their “Orbit Your Thesis!” project to be given a place aboard the space station ISS. From here, our magnetometer will map the magnetic field around the Earth in 3D for 10 months.

How does our technology work?

Our technology works like a compass. The magnetometer detects magnetic fields. But unlike the compass, our device does this in three dimensions and with a very high resolution and wide dynamic range.

Furthermore, it works based on two techniques where we use both an optical and an electronic way of measurement.

In the optical way, we shine a green laser on the diamond. This then gives us back a red light. We detect here from the brightness, while subjecting our diamond to microwaves. The changes in brightness that result are crucial in determining the magnetic field that surrounds the sensor.

Secondly, the photoelectric part, the green laser shines on the diamond and it is still exposed to microwaves. In this technique, however, we are not going to optically observe how bright the red light is that the diamond produces. We are rather looking at current differences that can be measured across the diamond. So here the current is crucial for us experiments we can derive the magnetic field from this.

What do we do on board the ISS?

Aboard the space station ISS, we will perform measurements for 10 months [VT1].

We measure the magnetic field of the earth and solar storms that occur.

How was OSCAR-QUBE created?

The Cube itself was designed and built from scratch. It started as an idea that was based on the experience from the previous iterations OSCAR and OSCAR-QLITE. The first thing to do was to make a long list of all the requirements the device had to fulfil. Going from the scientific requirements all the way to safety requirements in order to not pose a danger for the crew onboard the ISS. Next step is to make a design that would meet all those requirements. After the design is finished, it has become a reality. To make this as easy as possible and to allow for the ability to work on everything separately in order to come up with a finished product that is reliable and robust, we started with a testbench. By replacing all the commercial lab equipment by our own custom build designs, we were able to finetune each individual subsystem and debug easily to correct any flaws. When each subsystem was fine tuned to satisfaction, we proceeded to combine these individual subsystems into one complete system. Further fine tuning steps followed together with a lot of testing to get to a reliable and robust Cube. It was not only important to test the functionality of the Cube, but also if we are compatible with the requirements that were imposed by ESA for it to be safe for the ISS crew. These tests included a vibration test to make sure we would survive the ride on the rocket, EMI/EMC test to make sure we were not going to disturb any equipment and many more which we all passed. So after the Cube’s test campaign was completed, it was time to wrap it up for shipping and wave goodbye as it went off to Kennedy Space Center for payload integration.

Images of our activities


Jaroslav Hruby

Jaroslav Hruby 1

Wetenschapspark 1, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium



Gebouw IMO Foto1

Wetenschapspark 1,3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium

Research institute