Artist's impression of Earth's magnetosphere showing different plasma regimes. (c) UCL 2011
Artist's impression of Earth's magnetosphere showing different plasma regimes. (c) UCL 2011

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.

Lecture theatre at UCL
Lecture theatre at UCL

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.

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

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.

Mullard Space Science Laboratory in the snow
Mullard Space Science Laboratory in the snow

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

Cassini at Saturn

Titan’s atmosphere even more Earth-like than previously thought

Scientists at UCL have observed how a widespread polar wind is driving gas from the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan.
More...

Published: Jun 18, 2015 3:02:47 PM

Mission themes

ESA shortlists three space missions with major UCL contributions

The European Space Agency has announced the shortlisted proposals for its next mid-sized science mission. More...

Published: Jun 17, 2015 10:50:34 AM

Technician in Flight Test Facilities Group

Applications are invited for a position in the Flight Test Facilities Group at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London. The group is currently involved in testing hardware 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 test campaigns, as well as being responsible for the maintenance and day-to-day running of MSSL’s flight test facilities and cleanrooms. The successful applicant should hold an HNC/HND in engineering or equivalent and have experience of working in a laboratory environment. The post is for 2 years in the first instance, continuation subject to grant funding. The salary is on UCL Salary Grade 6, ranging from £24,057 - £28,695 per annum depending on experience. More...

Published: Jun 11, 2015 2:09:02 PM

ESA Announces M4 Down-selection

ESA has announced the three missions that will undergo Phase A studies for the fourth M-class mission in the Cosmic Visions science programme. These are the Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (Ariel), the Turbulence Heating ObserveR (Thor) and the X-ray Imaging Polarimetry Explorer (Xipe). MSSL scientists and engineers will be involved in the studies for all three missions. More...

Published: Jun 4, 2015 6:25:53 PM

Solar-terrestrial interactions. From left to right: Solar Dynamics Observatory image of the Sun (Credit: NASA); Earth’s magnetosphere (Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration); SMILE soft X-ray imager simulation of  emission from the magnetosheath and the cusps (the large box represents the soft X-ray imager field of view and the smaller one that of the auroral UV imager); FUV aurora from IMAGE (Credit: SMILE mission)

SMILE space mission passes first hurdle

A space mission called SMILE (Solar Wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer) which is jointly led by UCL and the Chinese National Space Science Center has received the go-ahead for an initial study phase this summer by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). More...

Published: Jun 4, 2015 11:23:07 AM

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