Polar projection of one of the Hubble STIS FUV images of Jupiter’s  Northern aurora taken on 24 February 2003; overplotted are all the X-ray  photons detected by the Chandra Observatory during its simultaneous observation. From Branduardi-Raymont et al., JGR, 2008
Polar projection of one of the Hubble STIS FUV images of Jupiter’s Northern aurora taken on 24 February 2003; overplotted are all the X-ray photons detected by the Chandra Observatory during its simultaneous observation. From Branduardi-Raymont et al., JGR, 2008

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.

Artist's impression of the Euclid spacecraft. Image: ESAe
Artist's impression of the Euclid spacecraft. Image: ESAe

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

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

Magnetar

Magnetar near supermassive black hole delivers surprises

In 2013, astronomers announced they had discovered a magnetar exceptionally close to the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way using a suite of space-borne telescopes including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. More...

Published: May 14, 2015 4:00:00 PM

Technician: In-situ Detection Systems

Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London More...

Published: May 11, 2015 4:48:00 PM

Left to Right: Philip Diamond, IOP’s Associate Director Programmes, Performance and Policy, Jason Hunt, Physics Bronze Winner, James Perham-Marchant, Director, Government and Academic Affairs, EMEA at John Wiley and Sons, Dr Stephen Benn, Society of Biology, Andrew Miller MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee Credit: © John Deehan

UCL researcher strikes Bronze for physics display in Parliament

Jason Hunt (UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory) has struck Bronze at a competition in the House of Commons, for the excellence of his physics research, walking away with a £1000 prize. More...

Published: Mar 12, 2015 8:54:32 AM

UCL-MSSL student Edward Malina

UCL scientist takes his research to Parliament

Edward Malina, 26, a PhD Research Student at Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL), hailing from Watford, is attending Parliament to present his physics research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of SET for Britain on Monday 9 March. More...

Published: Feb 25, 2015 5:43:53 PM

Artist’s rendering of the Planck satellite with view inside the telescope shields. The focal plane unit is visible as the golden collection of waveguide horns at the focus of the telescope positioned inside the thermal shields (external envelope) which protect the telescope from unwanted stray light and aids the cooling of the telescope mirrors by having a black emitting surface on the outside and a reflective one on the inside. For reference, the Earth and Sun would be located far towards the bottom left of this picture. (Credit: ESA/Planck)

Highlights from the 2015 Planck Cosmology Data Release

New maps from ESA's Planck satellite, forming the second major data release (Feb 2015) from the project, have unveiled the 'polarised' light from the early Universe across the entire sky, revealing that the first stars formed much later than previously thought. More...

Published: Feb 20, 2015 3:39:09 PM

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