Water and dust plumes emanating from the "tiger stripes" on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Adapted from Coates (2012). Courtesy: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Water and dust plumes emanating from the "tiger stripes" on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Adapted from Coates (2012). Courtesy: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


UCL's Department of Space and Climate Physics, (Mullard Space Science Laboratory - MSSL), is a world-leading research organisation and is the UK's largest university-based space research group.

MSSL delivers a broad, cutting-edge science programme, underpinned by a strong capability in space science instrumentation, space-domain engineering, space medicine, systems engineering and project management. 

Our scientific research ranges from cosmology and the study of extra-galactic objects, to studies of the Sun, the planets and their moons, the Earth, and humans working and living in space. We also research and develop the next generation of space instrumentation. Our research is supported through UK research councils, the UK Space Agency, European and other grants and contracts.

Lecture theatre at UCL
Lecture theatre at UCL


As a department of UCL, members of staff are actively involved in teaching both undergraduates and post-graduates. Our post-graduate education programme consists of taught courses, leading to an M.Sc., and research degrees, leading to an M.Phil or Ph.D.

Students studying at MSSL become active members of their research groups and wider research communities. Research projects in our taught courses give students the opportunity to be involved in the development of new space hardware and future missions. 

The research undertaken at MSSL drives an active outreach programme. Scientists and engineers are happy to talk about their work and run activities for groups of all ages and interests.

Artist's impression of the ExoMars rover. Image: ESA
Artist's impression of the ExoMars rover. Image: ESA


MSSL has a long heritage of providing high-quality space instrumentation for international space research missions. In our >40 year history we have been involved in more than 35 scientific space missions and over 200 rocket launches.

MSSL develops and tests hardware and software, usually as part of an international consortium. Our engineers work along side scientists to ensure that the instruments we produce optimally address key questions in modern space science. Post-launch support that is linked to pre-flight and flight calibrations enables scientists to understand the responses of the instrument, greatly benefitting the analysis of the data.

Engineers and project support staff make up around half the staff and students at MSSL.

MSSL thermal vacuum and optical test chamber
MSSL thermal vacuum and optical test chamber


As a builder of scientific instruments, MSSL has developed expertise and facilities for manufacturing and testing of space hardware. We make these facilities and expertise available for industrial contracts. 

Through UCL Centre for Systems Engineering (UCLse), we offer a range of industrial training courses in areas including systems engineering, project management, risk management and system design, and conduct consultancy projects for industry in systems engineering and technology management.

Mullard Space Science Laboratory with Comet Hale-Bopp
Mullard Space Science Laboratory with Comet Hale-Bopp


UCL was one of the first universities in the world to become involved in making scientific observations in space. Since MSSL was established in 1966, we have participated in more than 35 satellite missions and over 200 rocket experiments.

Our groups of research scientists and development engineers work together to ensure that the instruments we produce are as relevant and competitive as possible. The subsequent data analysis and scientific interpretation of data benefits from the fundamental understanding of the instruments gained from their development and testing.

MSSL and its location have a rich heritage that can be explored further on this site.

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Quality Assurance Co-ordinator

Applications are invited for a position in the Product Assurance Group at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London. The group is currently involved in producing scientific instrumentation for a number of ESA space missions, including Exomars, Solar Orbiter, Euclid and Plato. The successful applicant will provide support to these space flight hardware campaigns The position is available for a strong self-starter, who is detail and goal oriented and focused on continuous improvement and quality. This is a challenging role which requires common sense and multi-tasking ability to complete all tasks in hand. Also, good computer literacy is key and the successful applicant should be eager to strengthen and develop their inter-personal and problem-solving skills. One of the most important attributes required for this role is the ability to stay calm when times are busy. More...

Published: Sep 23, 2015 1:07:19 PM

Mars (credit: NASA, ESA)

Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure launches new era of planetary collaboration in Europe

A €9.95 million project to integrate and support planetary science activities across Europe has been launched.

Published: Sep 15, 2015 10:37:26 AM

Electronics Design Engineer

The focus of this post is the development of the PanCam instrument for the ESA Exomars programme. Exomars is a joint European and Russian mission to develop special technology for future sample return missions and to search for signs of past or present life. PanCam is a Rover based stereo camera system designed to operate in the harsh Martian environment. This instrument consists of a power converter, camera systems, filter wheel mechanisms and a field programmable gate array based digital control system. Communications with the Rover are over a Spacewire high speed digital link. LabView from National Instruments is widely used in our ground check-out systems and we use EDA design tools from Mentor Graphics. More...

Published: Aug 17, 2015 11:50:33 AM

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), launched in 2012, is an Explorer mission that allows astronomers to study the universe in high energy X-rays. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

MSSL involved in new NASA proposals

NASA has selected five proposals submitted to its Explorers Program to conduct focused scientific investigations and develop instruments that fill the scientific gaps between the agency’s larger missions. MSSL's Prof. Kinwah Wu and Dr. Silvia Zane are part of the team behind the selected IXPE proposal. More...

Published: Aug 5, 2015 4:18:50 PM

Space Project System Engineer

Applications are invited for the post of System Engineer for the Visible Instrument on the ESA Euclid dark-energy mission. The successful candidate will develop the specifications for the instrument and be responsible for its technical development and performance verification. More...

Published: Aug 4, 2015 4:22:37 PM

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