Iani Vallis, HRSC 50m DTM and multispectral image. From: Gupta, Muller et al. (in preparation)
Iani Vallis, HRSC 50m DTM and multispectral image. From: Gupta, Muller et al. (in preparation)

LEADING RESEARCH

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.

Student graduation at UCL's campus
Student graduation at UCL's campus

SHARING KNOWLEDGE

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.

Engineering model of the Solar Orbiter SWA-EAS at ESTEC for EMC testing
Engineering model of the Solar Orbiter SWA-EAS at ESTEC for EMC testing

DELIVERING TECHNOLOGY

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

SUPPORTING INDUSTRY

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.

UCL Dept. Space & Climate Physics - Mullard Space Science Laboratory
UCL Dept. Space & Climate Physics - Mullard Space Science Laboratory

WELCOME TO MSSL

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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MSSL News

The polarisation of light emitted by a neutron star

First signs of weird quantum property of empty space?

By studying the light emitted from an extraordinarily dense and strongly magnetised neutron star using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers may have found the first observational indications of a strange quantum effect, first predicted in the 1930s. The polarisation of the observed light suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence.

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Published: Nov 30, 2016 11:42:52 AM

Research Associates in Space Plasma Physics x 2

We seek to appoint two scientifically productive post-doctoral scientists to undertake research in the areas of space plasma physics, with particular emphasis on auroral physics and the magnetospheric substorm.  These projects are expected to utilise state-of-the-art data collected from the ESA Cluster auroral acceleration region campaigns as well as data from the NASA THEMIS, Van Allen Probes and MMS missions.  More...

Published: Oct 26, 2016 3:30:17 PM

Chef Assistant

We are looking for some temporary assistance in the MSSL kitchen on an as and when basis. More...

Published: Oct 10, 2016 10:31:19 AM

Mechanical Design Engineer

Applications are invited for the post of Mechanical Design Engineer in the mechanical and thermal engineering group at MSSL to support the Laboratory’s space science instrumentation programme. More...

Published: Oct 5, 2016 4:34:41 PM

Artist’s impression of Gaia spacecraft, with the Milky Way in the background (Credit: ESA/ATG MEDIALAB; background image: ESO/S. Brunier)

Gaia sizes up 1.1 billion stars

Gaia, a European Space Agency satellite designed to unlock the secrets of the birth and evolution of the Milky Way, has released its first wave of data on the positions and brightness for about one billion stars. 
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Published: Sep 16, 2016 4:37:01 PM

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Upcoming Events

Laboratory Literature

In preparation for the setting up of MSSL at Holmbury House in 1965, its first director, Sir Robert Boyd, had to promise the local planning committee he would not launch any rockets from the MSSL grounds. However, the promise did not include book launches! So MSSL is having a laboratory literature evening to celebrate the Sun and space through writing. MSSL staff and poet-in-residence Simon Barraclough have recently launched poetry books and a popular science book and you can find out about these books during the evening. More...

Starts: Jun 16, 2016 6:30:00 PM

Page last modified on 08 sep 11 16:33