A solar flare occurring near the edge of a sunspot. From: Li et al., Astron. & Astrophys., 2009
A solar flare occurring near the edge of a sunspot. From: Li et al., Astron. & Astrophys., 2009


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.

Artist's impression of Gaia. Image: ESA
Artist's impression of Gaia. 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.

UV inspection for contamination on flight hardware
UV inspection for contamination on flight hardware


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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PhD student Lloyd Woodham receiving his Outstanding Poster Contribution award at the SHINE meeting in Florida

MSSL Space Plasma student wins poster award at SHINE meeting

Lloyd Woodham from the Space Plasma Physics Group was one of five award winners at the Solar, Heliospheric & Interplanetary Environment (SHINE) Conference for his outstanding poster contribution. The SHINE meeting, held in Cocoa Beach, Florida, focussed on the upcoming science goals and questions that may be answered from the Parker Solar Probe mission launched just a few days ago. More...

Published: Aug 14, 2018 4:29:01 PM

Eleni, Alex and George with the UCL ExoMars PanCam test model at the Farnborough International Airshow

MSSL with UKSA at Farnborough Airshow

Students, post-docs and engineers from MSSL took part in the UK Space Agency (UKSA) public event at the Farnborough International Airshow this weekend. The UKSA stand aimed to engage members of the public in the wide-range of space activities taking part in the UK and to show the multitude of pathways into the space industry.  More...

Published: Jul 23, 2018 10:03:03 AM

Research Associate in Space Plasma Physics

We seek to appoint a scientifically productive research associate to undertake research in the general area of magnetospheric physics but with emphasis on the magnetospheric substorm, auroral physics or radiation belts. This project is expected to utilise state-of-the-art data from the NASA THEMIS, Van Allen Probes and MMS missions, and ESA Cluster auroral acceleration region campaigns. More...

Published: Jul 17, 2018 10:15:38 AM

Prof. Andrew Fazakerley presents Prof. Michael Arthur with a picture taken by the PanCam engineering model

Provost's visit to MSSL

UCL President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur visited MSSL today (6 July 2018), with Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS) Professor Ivan Parkin and Faculty Manager Donna Williamson. More...

Published: Jul 6, 2018 4:56:52 PM

Administrative Assistant

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an Administrative Assistant to join the Department of Space and Climate Physics (Mullard Space Science Laboratory). The successful candidate will work as part of a vibrant administrative team which comprises 11 people and will be based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Holmbury St Mary. The appointee will also liaise with the administrative, teaching and academic staff based on the main UCL campus in Bloomsbury. More...

Published: Jul 5, 2018 4:30:39 PM

institute of Physics Project Juno Support
institute of Physics Project Juno Support
institute of Physics Project Juno Support

Page last modified on 20 feb 18 11:26