In 1947 Prof. Burkard from the Institute for Meteorology and Geophysics of the Karl Franzens University Graz installed an ionosonde to measure the electron density profiles of the electrically conductive upper layers of the atmosphere. This laid the foundations of ionospheric research.
From 1966 artificial satellites were photographically recorded at the Observatory Graz-Lustbühel by Prof. Rinner, the Chair of Geodesy II of the Technische Hochschule Graz.
In 1969 Prof. Riedler became the head of newly-founded Institute of Communications and Wave Propagation of the Graz University of Technology. The Norwegian Research Council invited the Institute to develop the first Austrian instruments for space research purposes which were launched on November 26, 1969 on board a sounding rocket (see illustration) from the launch site in Andøya, Vesterålen Islands, Norway. This was the first launch of Austrian instruments into space.
On 24 April 1970 the Austrian Academy of Sciences decided to establish the Space Research Institute. It started its activities in 1972 at different departments spread all over Austria (Graz, Innsbruck and Vienna).