Iani Vallis, HRSC 50m DTM and multispectral image. From: Gupta, Muller et al. (in preparation)
Iani Vallis, HRSC 50m DTM and multispectral image. From: Gupta, Muller et al. (in preparation)


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


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.

State diagram of the PanCam PIU FGPA
State diagram of the PanCam PIU FGPA


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.

One of the twin materials screening chambers at MSSL
One of the twin materials screening chambers at MSSL


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


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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The SMILE SXI team meeting at MSSL

Preparing SXI for ESA/CAS SMILE mission

Over the last two days the international team developing the Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) for the ESA/CAS SMILE mission has gathered at MSSL to present and discuss progress in the design (and in some case prototyping) of the various subsystems that make up the instrument. SMILE is a new joint mission between the European Space Agency and Chinese Academy of Science planned for launch in the early 2020s. It will provide novel observations of Earth's magnetosphere by examining x-rays that are emitted when the solar wind impacts on Earth's magnetic field and an exosphere of neutral particles that expands out into space. More...

Published: Jun 15, 2018 9:12:30 AM

RAS Keith Runcorn Thesis Prize runner-up from MSSL

Dr. Nadine Kalmoni was a runner-up for the 2017 RAS Keith Runcorn Thesis Prize for her doctoral thesis entitled "The role of magnetospheric plasma instabilities in auroral and substorm dynamics". The prize, named in honour of the late Keith Runcorn, is awarded annually for the best PhD thesis in solar-system sciences and geophysics. More...

Published: Jun 14, 2018 4:33:55 PM

Workshop Instrument Maker and Fitter

An exciting opportunity has arisen for the post of Workshop Instrument Maker and Fitter in the Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Group in the Department of Space and Climate Physics (Mullard Space Science Laboratory) to support the laboratory’s space science instrumentation programme. The successful candidate will work alongside 5 other members of the group in the mechanical workshop. The work carried out in the workshop involves manufacture of bespoke parts for laboratory experiments and space flight instrumentation. In addition to this a significant amount of work is outsourced and requires inspection and processing. The outsourced work varies from painting, coating and other specialist processes not carried out in the laboratory as well as the manufacture of parts not suitable for the workflow in the workshop. It is important in this environment to maintain quality standards and the associated paperwork that is part of each space flight project.  More...

Published: Jun 6, 2018 1:17:56 PM

Artist's impression of Cassini and Saturn's magnetosphere. Credit: ESA

Magnetic field collisions around Saturn reveal planetary differences

Magnetic reconnection – the explosive reconfiguration of two magnetic fields – occurs differently around Saturn than around Earth, according to new findings from the international Cassini mission involving UCL researchers. More...

Published: Jun 5, 2018 9:16:07 AM

Research Associate in Weak Lensing Cosmology (Ref:1726840)

An exciting opportunity has arisen in the Department of Space and Climate Physics (MSSL Space Science Laboratory)  to join a team working on Euclid.  Euclid is the European Space Agency’s next space telescope, due for launch in 2021, whose primary science objective is to determine the nature of dark energy using weak lensing and galaxy clustering measurements. More...

Published: May 29, 2018 4:36:56 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