Climate observatory for the International Space Station.


ASIM will be installed on ISS on the Columbus External Payload Facility.


Launched by Falcon-9, the Dragon transport vehicle will carry ASIM to ISS.


ASIM will be installed from Dragon to ISS Columbus by means of extra-vehicular robotics.

Science Objectives

The ASIM mission main scientific objective is to study the correlation between Transient Luminous Events (TLE) and Terrestrial Gamma Ray Bursts (TGF) which occur in the upper atmosphere above thunderstorms. This is achieved by the two instruments, one optical instrument for observing TLEs and one X and Gamma Ray instrument for observing TGFs. The two instruments implement advanced triggering algorithms for the identification of these event, and also cross-trigger each other to capture both optical and gamma ray data for all events which are potential candidates of TLE/TGFs. The full set of science goals for ASIM is outlined by ESA:

  • Provide a comprehensive survey of the occurrences of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) and Terrestrial γ-flashes (TGFs) on a global scale;
  • Study the physics of TGFs and their relationship with TLEs;
  • Study the physics of TLEs;
  • Determine the characteristics that make thunderstorms TLE- and TGF-active;
  • Study the coupling to the ionosphere of thunderstorms and TLEs;
  • Study the effects of thunderstorms and TGFs on the Earth's radiation belts.

TLE - Transient Luminous Events


Transient luminous events are electromagnetic energy discharges in the upper atmosphere, well above the normal lightning we usually observe from ground. TLEs include sprites, blue jets, and elves (and more), the most common of which are the sprites. TLEs occur above thunderstorms which means that lightning activity will be on-going in the lower atmosphere. ASIM mission life will be minimum two years.

TGF - Terrestrial Gamma Ray Flash


Terrestrial gamma ray flashes are high energetic discharges in the Earth atmosphere, but the origin of events is unclear. This is why ASIM aims to study the correlation between the TGF with lightning and TLE.