The aim of the CRYSA (CRYostat Straps for Athena) project is to find and test materials that can withstand extremely low temperatures below minus 270 degrees Celsius. The project is being led by OHB Czechspace, which was awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) in autumn 2022. Scientists from the Czech Academy of Sciences contribute on the project. The materials will be used by ESA researchers to prepare a new generation of space X-ray telescopes.

In collaboration with Czech scientists, we want to use current scientific knowledge to design and test materials that have better thermal and mechanical properties. For their development and production, we will approach Czech manufacturers and suppliers."

Tomáš Pejchal, Research and Development Engineer

An artistic view of Athena space observatory.
An artistic view of Athena space observatory. ©ESA/IRAP/CNRS/UT3/CNES/Fab&Fab.


An example of the new generation of space telescope is the European Space Agency's planned ATHENA mission, which will study hot and energetic objects in deep space and supermassive black holes. ATHENA will include two very powerful optical instruments for X-ray imaging and spectroscopy. These instruments must be cooled to extremely low temperatures to achieve the required performance and resolution.

OHB Czechspace's task is to design and test materials suitable for the parts of the special module called cryostat, in which the instruments will be placed and which will ensure that they are cooled to the required temperature. These parts are called cryostat straps and they are separating the individual layers of the module.


The project started in September 2022. The successful completion of the first phase took place in December 2022.

Results of the CRYSA project will be known in the first half of 2024.


Our customer is the European Space Agency. OHB Czechspace is the so-called prime contractor.

OHB Czechspace will work with scientists from the Institute of Scientific Instruments and the Institute of Physics of Materials of the Czech Academy of Sciences to develop and test the cryogenic material.

CRYSA project was carried out under a programme of and funded by the European Space Agency. The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the ESA.

Links to related sites

European Space Agency - ATHENA