Company: Star2Earth

Oceanpal® measures sea and lake surface height and surface state

The objective of the Dutch company Star2Earth is to develop ideas and products based upon services from navigation satellites such as GPS, EGNOS and Galileo. Star2Earth's first product is Oceanpal®, an innovative system to provide information on sea levels and wave heights using global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) signals.

Star2Earth is a spin-off company of its Spanish parent company Starlab in Barcelona, Spain. Starlab is a research and development (R&D) business with a strong background in space research. Through its expertise in GNSS signals and GNSS signal reflections, Starlab has developed concepts and products to observe and monitor the Earth.

Project: Oceanpal®

The Oceanpal® system is Star2Earth's proposal for sea and lake surface monitoring. The instrument compares direct and reflected GNSS signals to derive real-time oceanographic information.

It is a passive system that uses any available GNSS signals to deliver information about height and state of the water’s surface. The underlying principle is to use the direct signals and the signals reflected on the water surface, to determine characteristics of the water.

Oceanpal measures direct and indirect GNSS signals
Measurement principle

Reflected signals carry significant information on sea state and topography and experimental works, as well as simulations, have demonstrated Oceanpal®’s potential for lake and coastal altimetry and sea-state monitoring.

As oceans, seas and lakes are the most important environmental elements threatened by global warming, easy monitoring of sea level, sea state and lake volume are more and more necessary. Port authorities, national agencies, off-shores platforms and hydroelectric power plants are just some of the users of this kind of information but at present, existing technologies tend to be expensive.

Oceanpal® consumes less energy than existing systems. It is also reasonably cheap, easy to deploy and use, has low maintenance costs and can be used in all weather conditions.

Prototypes are already installed and operational at three sites in Europe: in the harbour at Barcelona, at the La Baells reservoir in the Spanish Pyrenees and on the pier in Scheveningen near The Hague in the Netherlands.

From space to industry

Oceanpal® is a down-stream application that uses location global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) signals, initially GPS. In the future it will work with the European navigation satellite system Galileo which will provide greater accuracy.

ESA Business Incubation

Star2Earth is continuing the development of Oceanpal® at ESA’s Business Incubator at ESTEC. Access to ESTEC’s laboratories with support from ESA specialists is helping Star2Earth to validate the sensor with calibration and to define antenna patterns to improve and complete the development of the Oceanpal® system.

ESA Business Incubation

Working closely with ESA experts on GNSS signals and Earth observation is proving extremely valuable and provides support in creating computation techniques for Oceanpal®.

In addition, ESA’s Business Incubator provides support in completing the business plan and implementing a promotion programme. It also facilitates access to the Dutch and other European markets, and assists in finding potential business partners.


Star2Earth is being hosted at the ESA Business Incubation centre at ESTEC from January 2007 to September 2008.


Star2Earth team: Ana Maiques, Matthieu Delas, Xavier Banque
Star2Earth team
  • Ana Maiques, Star2Earth Director and Business Manager at Starlab, Start2Earth's parent company
  • Matthieu Delas, Business Development
  • Manager and Xavier Banque, Researcher.


Ana Maiques, ana.maiques @
Matthieu Delas, matthieu.delas @
Xavier Banque, xavier.banque @

European Space Research and Technology Centre
P.O.Box 299, Keplerlaan 1
NL-2201 AZ Noordwijk
The Netherlands

Tel: +31 71 565 6172
Fax: +31 71 565 6635


Last update: 24 October 2008

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