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.

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

Successful launch of first phase of QB50 CubeSats on their way to the International Space Station

Originally conceived by the European Space Agency’s Dr Ruedeger Reinhard, QB50 is a European Union-funded mission to support universities and schools from all over the world in designing, building and launching their own small, affordable satellites called CubeSats to collectively study the physics and chemistry of the middle and lower thermosphere of the Earth for the first time. More...

Published: Apr 20, 2017 4:28:00 PM

Electronics Design and Test Engineers (2 posts)

Applications are invited for the post of Electronics Design and Test Engineer within the electronics engineering group at MSSL. These posts are in the Department of Space and Climate Physics (www.ucl.ac.uk/mssl/) at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory. For administrative purposes, the Department is part of the UCL Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS). MSSL is located in its own campus in the Surrey Hills, surrounded by woodland. MSSL is the UK’s largest university space research group. Space science is a discipline that demands highly innovative technologies and MSSL has an international reputation for excellence in this area. Since MSSL was established in 1966, we have participated in over 40 satellite missions with the European Space Agency, NASA, Japan, Russia, China and India, and have flown over 230 rocket experiments. The total staff compliment is approximately 170. The engineering groups have all the capabilities needed to design, build and test space science instruments in house. We have been successful in our bids to provide instruments for the Solar Orbiter, PLATO, ExoMars PanCam and Euclid missions in Cosmic Vision, the current science programme of the European Space Agency and hence need to recruit additional staff. The Electronic Engineering Group consists of design engineers working on a diverse range of electronic disciplines supported by PCB layout and assembly groups. More...

Published: Apr 7, 2017 1:06:46 PM

Senior Electronics Engineer (2 posts)

Applications are invited for the post of Senior Electronics Engineer within the electronics engineering group at MSSL. There are a number of ongoing projects that this application relates to initially. The development and test of Charged Coupled Devices (CCD) front end read-out electronics. Front-end electronics are located within the instruments focal plane next to the CCDs and provide all the necessary functions to clock the CCD and read out images. Communications with data processing units are via Spacewire high speed digital link implemented within a field programmable gate array based digital control system. National Instruments LabVIEW is widely used in our ground check-out systems and we use Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools from Mentor Graphics for PCB and FPGA design. More...

Published: Apr 7, 2017 12:58:04 PM

Space Policy Workshop 2016

In 2016 MSSL ran the first in what is planned to be a series of Space Policy Workshops. The report from that workshop is now available to download. More...

Published: Apr 3, 2017 4:28:42 PM

Ekaterini Katsouri (L) and Thomas Armitage (R)

MAPS Faculty Postgraduate Prize Winners and Dean’s Commendations Announced

Congratulations to Thomas Armitage, winner of the 2016 Faculty Postgraduate Research Prize, and to Ekaterini Katsouri, winner of the 2016 Faculty Postgraduate Taught Prize. More...

Published: Apr 3, 2017 8:37:14 AM

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