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The UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics, also known as the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, is a world-leading research facility. We are the largest university-based space research department in the UK.

MSSL delivers a cutting-edge science programme, underpinned by a capability in space science instrumentation, systems engineering and project management. 

Our scientific research ranges from cosmology and the study of extra-galactic objects, to studies of our local Sun, the planets and the Earth. We also research and develop the next generation of space instrumentation and hardware. Our research is supported through European grants and by the UK research councils.

Space researchers make up approximately half of the staff and students at MSSL



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.



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 over 35 scientific space missions and over 200 rocket launches.

MSSL develops hardware and software for international space projects. Our technology development engineers work along side scientists to ensure that the instruments we produce are as relevant as possible. Post-launch support enables our scientists to understand the responses of the instrument, greatly benefitting our data analysis.

Engineers and project support staff make up around half the staff and students 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, 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 over 35 satellite missions and over 200 rocket experiments. We have the unique capability of designing, building and testing instruments and other spacecraft systems on site. 

Our groups of research scientists and development engineers work together to ensure that the instruments we produce are as relevant as possible. The subsequent data analysis benefits from a fundamental understanding of the instruments.

MSSL, and the site on which we are based, has a rich history and can be explored on this site. Details of how to find us, up coming opportunities and our outreach programme can also be found.

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Research Associates in Space Plasma Physics x 2

We seek to appoint two scientifically productive post-doctoral scientists to undertake research in the areas of space plasma physics, with particular emphasis on auroral physics and the magnetospheric substorm.  These projects are expected to utilise state-of-the-art data collected from the ESA Cluster auroral acceleration region campaigns as well as data from the NASA THEMIS, Van Allen Probes and MMS missions.  More...

Published: Oct 26, 2016 3:30:17 PM

Chef Assistant

We are looking for some temporary assistance in the MSSL kitchen on an as and when basis. More...

Published: Oct 10, 2016 10:31:19 AM

Mechanical Design Engineer

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

Published: Oct 5, 2016 4:34:41 PM

Artist’s impression of Gaia spacecraft, with the Milky Way in the background (Credit: ESA/ATG MEDIALAB; background image: ESO/S. Brunier)

Gaia sizes up 1.1 billion stars

Gaia, a European Space Agency satellite designed to unlock the secrets of the birth and evolution of the Milky Way, has released its first wave of data on the positions and brightness for about one billion stars. 

Published: Sep 16, 2016 4:37:01 PM

Report on Space Weather impacts to finance published

UCL researchers have been applying their knowledge of “space weather” to help the the finance sector build their resilience to this natural phenomenon. Space weather refers to changes in the near-Earth space that are caused by the Sun. Huge explosions and eruptions in the Sun’s atmosphere reach out and cause changes in the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, and this ultimately has knock-on effects to much of our modern technology, for example electricity distribution, satellite services and communications. A new report led by UCL lays out guidance on how to factor space weather risks into business resiliency planning for the finance sector, and discusses how businesses might be impacted. More...

Published: Sep 7, 2016 9:18:43 AM

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Upcoming Events

Laboratory Literature

In preparation for the setting up of MSSL at Holmbury House in 1965, its first director, Sir Robert Boyd, had to promise the local planning committee he would not launch any rockets from the MSSL grounds. However, the promise did not include book launches! So MSSL is having a laboratory literature evening to celebrate the Sun and space through writing. MSSL staff and poet-in-residence Simon Barraclough have recently launched poetry books and a popular science book and you can find out about these books during the evening. More...

Starts: Jun 16, 2016 6:30:00 PM

Page last modified on 21 sep 11 10:24