- 2009 – Present: University of Helsinki, Department of Physics: Development Manager
- Advisor for startup companies in the field of Space technology.
- Space Systems Finland Ltd.: Managing Director (1990-2005)
- Space Systems Finland Ltd.: Director, Strategic Development (2005 -2009)
- Space Systems Finland Ltd.: Member of the Board (1990-2011) of which President (1990–2004 & 2009-2011).
- Finnish Meteorological institute, Department of Geophysics: Chief research engineer (1986 – 1989).
- Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Instrument Laboratory: Research Scientist (1984 – 1986).
- Helsinki University of Technology Laboratory of Physics. Research assistant. (1981 – 1983)
Description of tasks in more detail in current and previous positions
2009 – Present: University of Helsinki, Department of Physics: Development Manager
- 2009 – Present: System engineer in the SIXS instrument project for the BepiColombo satellite. The satellite is ESA’s Large Science mission to be launched on 2015. This project is the biggest Finnish instrument project active at the moment, and the total budget is more than 10 M€. The duties of S. Korpela include the technical coordination of the entire instrument design, manufacturing and verification. The University has four subcontractors for manufacturing the instrument data processing unit, software, x-ray detectors and particle detectors.
- 2011 – Present: Negotiations to participate in various ESA Space Missions. Act as Co-Investigator and system/technical expert when negotiating the Finnish participation in the instrumentation of the mission.
- 2015 – Present: Project manager in ESA’s Athena Mission. The project objective is to manufacture
- 2011 – 2015: Project manager in E-SQUID project in EU’s Framework programme 7. The objective of the project is to develop state of the art cryogenic readout systems using multiplexed Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) amplifiers for focal plane sensor arrays in the X-rays, optical and far infrared (Sub-mm) wavelengths. The detector arrays concerned are Transition Edge Sensor (TES), Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector (MKID), and Metallic Magnetic Calorimeter (MMC).
2011: Aalto University:
- Reviewer for the Aalto-1 small satellite. Evaluation and Comments for the satellite review documentation.
2010: Tartu University:
- Reviewer for the Estonian small satellite EstCube, Estonian Student Satellite program. Evaluation and Comments for the satellite review documentation.
1990 - 2011: Space Systems Finland Ltd.: Managing Director & President (1990-2005), Director, Strategic Development & Member of the Board (2005 -2009), President (2009 – February 2011)
- Korpela has been a pioneer from the beginning of the space technology industry in Finland. He founded Space Systems Finland Ltd., the first Finnish company specialised in space technology in 1988 and acted as Managing Director during the first 16 years. The company specialised in software and system engineering, and later in high reliability software and satellite navigation. During the period the company has made onboard and ground software for most of ESA’s satellites including Envisat, MSG, METOP, GOCE, Herschel, Planck, Gaia, Galileo and BepiColombo. Additionally Space Systems Finland has performed independent validation of software in the four main computers of the Integral-satellite and safety critical parts of Galileo ground mission segment. Additionally Space Systems Finland has developed ground processing software for Earth Observation satellites.
- Korpela has performed the main management tasks in the company, but in many cases he has been also a technical lead in projects, especially if knowledge of space technology or of Earth Observation has been required. S. Korpela has led several studies in the area of Earth Observation as a contractor of ESA. He has been a key person to propose and start new customer and development projects funded by TEKES, EU or ESA and responsible for contract negotiations of the projects.
The operations of a space company required a set of capabilities and facilities for space development, production, validation and quality. All this has been developed under the management of S. Korpela. Below is a subset of such projects in which S. Korpela has participated also in a technical expert role.
- 1990 - 1994: Envisat-1, Global Ozone Monitoring by the Occultation of Stars (GOMOS). S. Korpela was a Co-Investigator in the instrument proposal to ESA, and made also a doctoral thesis from the operational principles of this instrument on 1991. He participated in the Phase-A and Phase-B studies of the instrument by making general analysis of the instrument. He prepared also special software for the mission analysis. During Phase C/D the company developed the onboard software for the instrument with a larger team.
- 1990 - 1993: Mars'96 -Landers for Mars. The landers were an international project with participation from Finland, Russia, the USA, France and Germany. During the first years, S. Korpela worked as a technical manager in the project. During the production phase the company made onboard software and Assembly, Integration and Verification (AIV) for the Landers in its clean room facilities.
- 1992 - 1993: FS-1 A Study of a Finnish small satellite for Science or Earth Observation. Space Systems Finland Ltd. was a Prime Contractor of the project, and S. Korpela acted as a Project Manager. The set of subcontractors included among other Finnish institutes and companies a space team of the Helsinki University of Technology.
- Study of the Sun and Moon as Radiation Calibration Targets for GOME ozone monitoring instrument onboard ERS-2 satellite of ESA. S. Korpela acted as a Project Manager and main architect for the methodology. The study included research organisations from France and Germany as subcontractors.
- 1995 - 1996: ROCMAP Requirements and Constraints for Candidate Mission Architecture and Payloads. Space Systems Finland Ltd. was a Prime Contractor of the project, and S. Korpela acted as a Project Manager, when ESA studied the potential implementation of model missions identified for the next decade, after ENVISAT under the Earth Observation Preparatory Programme. These missions were already then expected to belong to two classes, Earth Explorers, of research nature, and Earth Watch of (pre)operational character. Several of those model missions were studied together, including Earth Explorers candidates like: Radiation, Atmospheric Chemistry, Precipitation, and Surface Processes and Interactions; and potential elements of Earth Watch missions like Global Scale Surface Processes and Interactions, Chemistry Monitoring. The study lead to a range of satellites, from less than 1000 kg to 3000 kg and power requirements from below 500 W to more than the 1500 W. Orbit altitudes range from 500 km to 800 km. Though most missions are sun-synchronous, precipitation is in low inclination orbit with implications on the spacecraft configuration and systems. AOCS and Data Handling are the most innovative systems with respect to present missions. The subcontractors included the main satellite prime contractors in Europe.
- 1996-1997: Space 2000 Development of Flight Software, A TEKES-funded study of future methodologies and standards for satellite onboard software development.
- 1996-2000: Envisat Payload Data Segment. Development of GOMOS processing facility for the data processing centres of ESA. S. Korpela was a key person to start the project in Space Systems Finland. He made the requirements for the data processing software and, when the project required more that 10 software experts, acted as an overall supervisor.
- 1996 -1999: S. Korpela was a Project Manager in COALA Ozone measurement instrument studies (hyperspectral imager, 2 study projects funded by ESA and TEKES).
- 2001 – 2008: the company developed Indoor Navigation technology using augmentation of GPS signals with additional transmitters (so called Pseudolites). The company performed studies and product development projects, funded by TEKES and ESA.
- 2005 – 2009: Sales, marketing and consortium negotiations in special projects e.g. start of Deploy (EU FP7) project, start of several projects for European Space Agency ESA.
- in 2006-2007: S. Korpela made part of his work with Galileo navigation satellite project under an ESA contract. The Company performed Independent Software Verification and Validation (ISVV) for highly critical parts of the Galileo mission segment (GMS) software. S. Korpela worked as a Project Manager in the contracts as a special project to start new kind of business in the company.
- 2007: Project management support for project “Cooperative Earth Observation Sensors”, Data platform to join in-situ and satellite-based Earth Observation data.
1986 - 1989: Finnish Meteorological institute, Department of Geophysics: Chief research engineer.
- Korpela joined the Finnish Meteorological Institute in 1986, when the first Finnish space projects were just being started. His responsibilities included technical management, system design, mission analysis and/or software design of the space projects, but soon his main responsibility turned out to be the proposals and negotiations to start new space projects within ESA. He was a key person in several of the first Finnish space projects.
- 1986 - 1988: PHOBOS Mars mission, ASPERA plasma spectrometer, technical manager of the Finnish part (DPU) .
- 1986 - 1988: PHOBOS Mars mission, LIMA-D laser experiment, technical manager and software design of the Finnish part (EGSE)
- 1987 - 1989: INTERBALL mission, PROMICS-3 plasma spectrometer, technical manager of Finnish part (DPU)
- 1988 - 1989: ESA’s SOHO mission, SWAN instrument (solar wind anisotropies), During his career at FMI, S. Korpela acted as a Co-Investigator. He organised the technical part of the original instrument proposal to ESA, and later, when the instrument was accepted, worked as a system engineer of the Finnish part.
- 1988 - 1989: Mars'96 -Landers for Mars. During his career at FMI, the project was in Phase-A. At this time the project included several system scenarios and possibilities for Finnish industry. The Phase-A studies were made by the Finnish team under supervision of the French Space Agency CNES. Korpela was a technical manager of the project until he moved to Space Systems Finland. Difficulties in finding relevant expertise for this project among existing Finnish industry led S. Korpela to initiate Space Systems Finland Ltd.
- 1989: FREJA mission, F3 plasmaspectrometer, technical manager of the Finnish part (DPU)
- 1989: Envisat-1 / GOMOS ozone monitoring instrument. Korpela was a Co-Investigator and technical manager in the original instrument proposal to ESA. After the instrument was accepted for the mission, the further studies became organised by a French satellite prime contractor. S. Korpela coordinated the Finnish participation in the Phase-A study until he moved to Space Systems Finland.
1984 - 1986: Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Instrument Laboratory: Research Scientist.
- Korpela joined the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) after graduating from the University. His tasks included system, software, hardware and optical engineering of measurement instrumentation.
- 1984: S. Korpela made the hardware design and software for an industrial camera-based classification system.
- 1984 -1985: S. Korpela developed software for a mechanical sensor and microprocessor-based road quality profiler.
- 1985-1986: S. Korpela developed software for measurement and control systems based on optical sensors for printing machines.
1981 - 1983: Helsinki University of Technology Laboratory of Physics.
Student job contracts.
- Korpela’s research topics included development of optical measurement technologies for semiconductor materials and computer-based control systems and software for the measurement equipment. His assisted in home works also in several courses in Physics.
- Mobility: during the positions S.Korpela has had several design/testing campaigns, e.g.: BepiColombo design meetings and validation/testing campaigns in Germany, Switzerland, UK, Spain, total of about 3 months. GOMOS design meetings: several weeks in France, SWAN design meetings: Several weeks in France, COALA design meetings: Several meetings in the Netherlands. The export of the Space Systems Finland was about 80% when S. Korpela was active in the company; he negotiated all the contracts in foreign countries.
- EU, Bruxelles, Evaluator for funding in Space Programme.
Professional activities and achievements:
- SIXS instrument project for the BepiColombo satellite. The duties of S. Korpela include the technical coordination of the entire instrument design, manufacturing and verification. S. Korpela has prepared or edited more than 25 technical documents including design description, engineering plan, specifications, interface definitions, test plans, test reports and a user manual.
- E-SQUID project S. Korpela edited the proposal and is responsible on final editing of the study reports.
- Space Systems Finland Ltd: 1995 - 1996: ROCMAP Requirements and Constraints for Candidate Mission Architecture and Payloads. Space Systems Finland Ltd. was a Prime Contractor of the project, and S. Korpela acted as a Project Manager and editor for the reports.
- Space Systems Finland Ltd 1992 - 1993: FS-1 A Study of a Finnish small satellite for Science or Earth Observation. S. Korpela acted as a Project Manager and was an editor of the study report.
- Space Systems Finland Ltd: Study of the Sun and Moon as Radiation Calibration Targets for GOME ozone monitoring instrument onboard ERS-2 satellite of ESA. S. Korpela acted as a Project Manager, main architect for the methodology and an editor of the study report.
- Space Systems Finland Ltd: 1996 -1999: S. Korpela was a Project Manager and report editor in COALA Ozone measurement instrument studies (hyperspectral imager, 2 study projects funded by ESA and TEKES).
- Finnish Meteorological Institute, 1988 - 1989: Mars'96 -Landers for Mars. S. Korpela worked as a technical manager in the project and edited the Feasibility studies.
- Finnish Meteorological Institute, 1989: Envisat-1 / GOMOS ozone monitoring instrument. Korpela was a Co-Investigator and technical manager in the original instrument proposal to ESA. He participated in the Phase-A and Phase-B studies of the instrument by making general analysis of the instrument. He also prepared software for the mission analysis.
- Finnish Meteorological Institute, 1988 - 1989: ESA’s SOHO mission, SWAN instrument During his career at FMI, S. Korpela prepared the technical part of the original instrument proposal to ESA.
- Finnish Meteorological Institute, 1986 - 1988: PHOBOS Mars mission, LIMA-D laser experiment, technical manager and software design of the Finnish part (EGSE)
Expert and reviewer tasks
- EU commission, Bruxelles, Evaluator for funding applications in Space Programme.
- 2011: Aalto University: Reviewer for the Aalto-1 small satellite. Evaluation and Comments for the satellite review documentation.
- 2010: Tartu University (Estonia): Reviewer for the Estonian small satellite EstCube, Estonian Student Satellite program. Evaluation and Comments for the satellite review documentation. S. Korpela and Prof. Klaus Briess (Univ. of Berlin) were the two evaluators selected for the review.
- In the previously mentioned BepiColombo satellite project S. Korpela has reviewed the design and testing documentation prepared by the subcontractors. The number of different documents is more than 600 (different versions of each document is not counted).
Public examiner/opponent tasks
- 2017 Pre-examiner in Doctoral Thesis: Rapid Space Mission Design, Realization and Deployment (Antti Kestilä)
Positions of trust and memberships in councils, boards, committees, networks, scientific associations, etc.
- Governing Member at the Aalto University / Metsähovi Radio Observatory
- Governing Member at the International Space University (1995 – 2000)
- Coordination Board expert members in the TEKES projects.
- Board Member in Space Systems Finland Ltd. (1988 – 2011)
Experience of leadership (department, research group, etc.)
- Space Systems Finland Ltd.: S. Korpela has performed the main management tasks in the company and developed the organisation from a one person to a staff number of about 40 people. When the company was grown to above 10 staff members, the management organisation was hierarchical. S. Korpela organised the management using a management team, each member of which had various responsibilities.
- Korpela has been a project manager, and has managed either an internal study team or a set of subcontractors in the following projects: E-SQUID, Galileo navigation satellite ISVV, ROCMAP, COALA, Sun and Moon Calibration, Space 2000 Development, FS-1 A Study of a Finnish small satellite, GOMOS Feasibility studies.
- In the study of FS-1 satellite the team included, among other Finnish institutes and companies, a team from the Helsinki University of Technology.
Joint efforts and cooperation, e.g., with industry, trade and business life
- At Space Systems Finland 1990 – 2011, S. Korpela has successfully negotiated dozens of contracts with the prime contractors manufacturing satellites for European Space Agency ESA or with national customers.
- In the previously mentioned BepiColombo satellite project the University of Helsinki has four industrial subcontractors for manufacturing the instrument data processing unit, software, x-ray detectors and particle detectors. S. Korpela works as a system engineer and coordinates the technical design and testing. The project is a joint project with the University of Leicester, and includes cooperation partners also in UK, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and in the Netherlands.
- The following studies have included international research organisations or companies as partners under coordination of S. Korpela: E-SQUID, ROCMAP, Sun and Moon Calibration.
- At Finnish Meteorological Institute, S. Korpela has negotiated the following projects with the research partners: SWAN, GOMOS, Mars’96 lander.
- Many of the studies included also Finnish industrial partners under his supervision: E-SQUID, ROCMAP, COALA, SWAN, GOMOS, Mars’96 Lander, Lima-D/Phobos.
- Korpela has on-going negotiations to participate in ESA’s various missions. Presently on-going missions are JUICE and LOFT.
Participation in/organization of conferences, workshops, etc.
- Korpela has organised three times a company participation in an exhibition in connection with the International astronomical conference (IAF)
- Organisation of FS-1 seminar (1991). A Finnish satellite for Science / Earth observation
Administrative assignments (teaching, research, general, etc.)
- Governing Member at the International Space University (1995 – 2000)
- Space Systems Finland Ltd.: Board member (1990–2011), of which President all the time except 3 years.
Public appearances, tutorials, talks
- During his career, S. Korpela has been interviewed numerous times by national magazines, once by Forbes and several times by national TV new and other channels.
Ability to raise external research funding
- EU FP7: E-SQUID project in EU’s Framework programme 7 at the University of Helsinki. S. Korpela coordinated the proposal and it was accepted with highest marks among all the proposals received in the EU’s space call.
- EU FP7: Space Systems Finland, Deploy project, extremely high reliability software, AMES software development methodologies.
- TEKES: Successful TEKES funded technology development projects at Space Systems Finland for the development of Flight Software, for Software development tools, for indoor navigation and for the development of technologies for ESA’s future satellites.
- ESA’s TRP, GSTP & EOPP prorammes: Autonomous software for satellites, Software execution time analysis tool, Using the Sun and Moon for radiometric calibration of an imaging spectrometer, Cooperative Earth Observation Sensors.
Prizes and awards
- 1991: Company of the year in the Province of Uusimaa.
- 1991: Company of the year in the city of Espoo (Junior Chamber of Commerce).
- 1992: The outstanding Young Person of Finland (Junior Chamber of Commerce).
- 1992: The outstanding Young Person of the World in the Category of Science and Technology in 1992 (The Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) Program serves to formally recognize young people who excel in their chosen fields and exemplify the best attributes of the world's young people. The program is sponsored by Junior Chamber International (JCI)).
- Dr. Tech., Helsinki University of Technology. Thesis: 'A Study of the Operational Principles of the GOMOS Instrument for Global Ozone Monitoring by the Occultation of Stars' (1991)
- M.Sc. (Phys.Eng.) with an “outstanding” grade, Technical Physics and Information Technology, Helsinki University of Technology (1983)
- Space Technology Course, (University of Southampton) (1987)
- Basics of Business Finance and Economy (SEFEK) (1990)
- Presentation Skills for Leaders (Mercuri) (1997)
- Uusimaa Province International Management Programme (FINTRA) (2000)
- Business Programme for Expert Companies (2007)
- Excel 2007 in the processing of large data (2009)
- Kokonaiskustannusmalli - budjetointi, seuranta ja raportointi (2009)
- Office 2007 new features (2009)
- Use of Adobe Connect in network meetings 2011
Language skills: Finnish, English, Swedish, German
- Finnish: S. Korpela has received his basic education in Finnish and taken a maturity test at a higher education institution; has taken the Finnish matriculation examination with Laudatur in the required Finnish examination.
- Swedish: has demonstrated at least satisfactory ability to understand oral and written Swedish in an examination by the Language Examination Board set by the National Board of Education.
- English: Fluent, can be demonstrated by the international career
Other relevant information
- Hobbies: Sailing, Skiing, Radio Amateur, Astronomy (all are a little bit frozen state nowadays)