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

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 Solar Orbiter. Image: ESA
Artist's impression of Solar Orbiter. 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.

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

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

Dr. Zhonghua Yao and Prof. Chris Owen

MSSL Space Plasma Physics researchers celebrated by Royal Astronomical Society

We would like to offer our warmest congratulations to Professor Chris Owen and Dr. Zhonghua Yao, recipients of two prestigious awards from the Royal Astronomical Society. Prof. Owen will give the 2017 “James Dungey Lecture” and Dr. Yao was awarded the “Winton Capital Award” for research by a Post Doctoral Fellow in a UK institution whose career has shown the most promising development. More...

Published: Jan 17, 2017 4:11:19 PM

SMILE SXI Research Associate

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 in the context of 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: Jan 17, 2017 3:41:22 PM

Mechanical Designer

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

Published: Jan 10, 2017 4:22:08 PM

Flight Test Facilities Engineer

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 a degree in engineering or equivalent and have experience of working with space flight hardware. The post is for 2 years in the first instance, continuation subject to grant funding. The salary is on UCL Salary Grade 7, ranging from £31,076 - £38,183per annum depending on experience. More...

Published: Jan 10, 2017 4:18:35 PM

Research into Jupiter's X-ray aurora

A new postdoctoral position has been created jointly by 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) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy (P&A), based at UCL’s London campus in Gower Street. For administrative purposes both Departments are part of the UCL Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS). The position will entail the analysis and interpretation of Chandra and XMM-Newton data (archival and from forthcoming approved observations) of the planet Jupiter, with special emphasis on the X-ray aurora, the processes that generate it and their dependence on the solar wind and local magnetospheric conditions. More...

Published: Jan 10, 2017 4:16:06 PM

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