Bangkok, the Thai capital, flooded in 2011. From Gale and Saunders (2013): The 2011 Thailand floods - causes and rainfall return periods.
Bangkok, the Thai capital, flooded in 2011. From Gale and Saunders (2013): The 2011 Thailand floods - causes and rainfall return periods.


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


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


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.

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


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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Titan's atmospheric haze

Has Cassini found a universal driver for prebiotic chemistry at Titan?

An important type of molecule that helps produce complex organic material has been detected within Titan’s hazy upper atmosphere by a UCL-led team as part of the international Cassini-Huygens mission. More...

Published: Jul 26, 2017 4:28:00 PM

SMILE SXI Instrument Software Scientist

A new postdoctoral position has been created at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL, based at Holmbury St. Mary, near Dorking in Surrey), the home of UCL’s Department of Space and Climate Physics. For administrative purposes the Department is part of the UCL Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS). The position will entail creating and analysing science and instrument simulations, and designing and coding elements of the Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) Pipeline Processing Software. The SXI is the primary instrument onboard the SMILE (Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, mission which is currently under joint development by the European Space Agency and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. More...

Published: Jul 24, 2017 11:49:26 AM


MAPS Faculty Teaching Awards 2017

Each year the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Faculty recognises excellence in teaching by staff and teaching assistants at all levels within the faculty through the Faculty Teaching Awards.

Published: Jul 20, 2017 2:20:00 PM

Prof. Lucie Green (courtesy: IOP)

IOP Medal and Prize for Prof. Lucie Green

Congratulations to Prof. Lucie Green who was awarded the IoP's 2017 Lise Meitner Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to public outreach, via public lectures, science festivals, organising public events and open days, frequent radio and TV appearances including presenting, and writing a popular science book. More...

Published: Jul 3, 2017 12:41:15 PM

Participants and trainers for the Met Office Space Weather Forecasters training workshop at MSSL. (c) MSSL

Training for Space Weather Forecasters at MSSL

MSSL hosted its first Training Workshop for Space Weather Forecasters this week. The 3-day course, designed in collaboration with the Met Office, provided space weather forecasters from the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC) with the chance to explore some of the new science in solar-terrestrial physics with potential applications to space weather with experts from both the MSSL Solar Physics and Space Plasma Physics Groups. More...

Published: Jun 30, 2017 3:22:32 PM

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