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.

Engineering model of the Solar Orbiter SWA-EAS at ESTEC for EMC testing
Engineering model of the Solar Orbiter SWA-EAS at ESTEC for EMC testing

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

Prof. Louise Harra

Prof. Louise Harra to give 2018 Robinson Lecture at Armagh Observatory

MSSL's Prof. Louise Harra will be giving the prestigious 2018 Robinson Lecture for the Armagh Observatory. Louise, who is co-PI of the Extreme-UV Imager for the Solar Orbiter mission, will be talking about Solar Orbiter, its mission goals, how we will get there, and why we are doing it.  More...

Published: Nov 16, 2017 5:22:58 PM

MSSL Alumni Chris Rapley, John Zarnecki and Ken Pounds with former director Alan Smith at the launch of the Skylark exhibit

MSSL Alumni Celebrate 60 years of Skylark

MSSL Alumni Chris Rapley, John Zarnecki and Ken Pounds came together with former director Alan Smith to celebrate 60 years since the start of the UK's Skylark rocket programme at a new exhibit at the Science Museum. The Skylark programme signalled the start of the British space age. All four worked on numerous experiments launched on Skylark rockets during their times at MSSL. More...

Published: Nov 14, 2017 10:51:28 PM

Inspection of one of the tracker modules at UCL MSSL by members of the UCL team

Probing the nature of the neutrino using SuperNEMO

One mile beneath a mountain in the French Alps, an international team involving UCL scientists is hoping to unlock more secrets of the mysterious neutrino using a new, cutting-edge experiment called SuperNEMO. More...

Published: Nov 10, 2017 10:59:58 AM

Jupiter’s south pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers) (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles)

Jupiter’s X-ray auroras pulse independently

Jupiter’s intense northern and southern lights pulse independently of each other according to new UCL-led research using ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatories. More...

Published: Nov 2, 2017 8:49:50 AM

SMILE mission gets £3 million boost

A space mission called SMILE (Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer), jointly developed by the European Space Agency and the Chinese Academy of Sciences with major UK involvement from UCL, has received additional funding from the UK Space Agency. More...

Published: Oct 31, 2017 11:42:55 AM

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