• Here is an image of the crab nebula
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LEADING RESEARCH

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

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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.

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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 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.

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WORKING WITH 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, 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 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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MSSL News

Prof. Mark Cropper

Prof. Mark Cropper awarded RAS 2018 Service Award for Astronomy

MSSL's Professor Mark Cropper was one of two UCL astrophysicists to receive prestigious Royal Astronomical Society awards this year. More...

Published: Jan 15, 2018 9:18:31 AM

A ‘radio colour’ view of the sky above a ‘tile’ of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope, located in outback Western Australia. The Milky Way is visible as a band across the sky and the dots beyond are some of the 300,000 galaxies observed by the telescope for the GLEAM survey. Red indicates the lowest frequencies, green the middle frequencies and blue the highest frequencies. Credit: Radio image by Natasha Hurley-Walker (ICRAR/Curtin) and the GLEAM Team. MWA tile and landscape by Dr John Goldsmith / Celestial Visions.

CSIRO and ICARA (Curtin University) in Australia collaborate with UCL’s CDT to develop next-generation data science techniques for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)

Luke Pratley from the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) has been awarded £10,000 from STFC to visit CSIRO and ICARA (Curtin University) in Perth, Australia, to apply new data science techniques from the framework of compressive sensing for imaging observations made by the Murchison Wide-Field Array (MWA) – a radio telescope attempting to detect the first stars forming in the Universe. New imaging algorithms that have been developed at UCL by Luke Pratley and Jason McEwen have been shown to work very well on real observations from existing radio interferometric telescopes, including the VLA and ATCA.  In collaboration with UCL’s Research Software Development Group these algorithms have  been distributed and multi-threaded, so they can cope with the large data rates from the MWA. This will pave the way for applying new data science techniques for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which will be the world’s largest radio telescope, with higher resolution and sensitivity than ever before. More...

Published: Dec 12, 2017 10:21:54 AM

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

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Page last modified on 21 sep 11 10:24