MSSL News Page
MSSL student experiment successfully launched on European rocket
Publication date: 7 May 2013
Herschel loses its cool, but the work continues
Publication date: 29 April 2013
Europe's Herschel Space Observatory has exhausted its supply of liquid helium coolant, after almost four years of scientific observations. Using Herschel data, astronomers have already made ground-breaking discoveries about the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies and planets. But this has only scratched the surface, and there is far more still to come from the immense archive. Scientists at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) and Department of Physics & Astronomy have been at the forefront of this exciting mission, both by leading a number of the key scientific investigations carried out by the observatory, and for their prominent role in the design of the SPIRE instrument, one of the three instruments carried on board Herschel. The SPIRE (Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver) instrument, which, made images of the sky simultaneously in three submillimetre ‘colours’ and measured the spectral features of atoms and molecules, was built by an international consortium headed by the UK.
Space lasers used to reduce emissions
Publication date: 29 April 2013
Three Royal Society University Research Fellows at MSSL
Publication date: 30 October 2012
MSSL is proud to announce that Drs Lucie Green and Chris Arridge have both been awarded a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship in the 2012 competition. Lucie and Chris will be joined by Dr Thomas Kitching who was awarded a University Research Fellowship last year and has moved to MSSL from the University of Edinburgh. All three will take up academic posts at MSSL on completion of their fellowships.
MSSL wins contract to train ESA project managers
Publication date: 3 October 2012
UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) has won a major 3-5 year contract to provide project management training to the next generation of project managers at the European Space Agency (ESA). MSSL’s Technology Management Group will deliver the training at a venue close to ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, with a team consisting of Prof Alan Smith, Dr Michael Emes (Programme Manager), Matthew Whyndham and Simon Jackson.
MSSL becomes a member of ISIC
Publication date: 29 August 2012
MSSL has become a member of the International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) in Harwell, Oxfordshire. ISIC drives innovation and enterprise, creating new technologies and developing applications and intellectual property for the benefit of the UK. Launched in May 2011, ISIC is a not-for-profit organisation based in the UK formed between industry, academia and government.
Hinode Scientists' Stellar Effort Keeps Sun Mission 'Burning Bright'
Publication date: 14 August 2012
Whilst the most powerful earthquake since records began hit Japan in 2011, triggering a massive tsunami which devastated much of the country, space scientists involved in one of the ‘brightest’ international Sun missions continued working tirelessly at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara, Japan, to capture new data from our turbulent star.
Technological Breakthrough in MSSL Milli-Kelvin Cryocooler
Publication date: 14 June 2012
A 22 gram Chromium Potassium Alum (CPA) paramagnetic refrigerant has been demonstrated to cool from 4 Kelvin to 178 millikelvin in only 30 seconds; an unprecedented achievement made possible by detailed thermal modelling and the development of a superconducting magnet capable of ramping from zero to two Tesla (20,000 gauss) in 30 seconds and vice versa. This is a key technological breakthrough in MSSL’s EPSRC funded millikelvin cryocooler development.
ESA selects mission to Jupiter and its moons
Publication date: 3 May 2012
Europe's next large space mission JUICE (JUpiter ICy moon Explorer) is destined to orbit icy Ganymede, a planet-sized Galilean moon, after flybys of Europa and Callisto. Unique among moons in the solar system, Ganymede is magnetized, which gives it some protection from Jupiter's harsh radiation and plasma environment, which the mission will also characterize. All 3 moons are 'waterworlds' in the sense that they have liquid water oceans underneath their icy crusts. Professor Andrew Coates of MSSL-UCL is a member of the ESA Science Study team and has spent the last 4 years contributing to the team effort to get the mission selected. He says 'Now the hard work really starts - preparing instrument proposals for this space odyssey which will launch in 2022, reach Jupiter in 2030 and orbit Ganymede in 2032. We look forward to the challenge of this fascinating mission'.
First validated data from ESA GlobIce Project
Publication date: 14 March 2012
GlobIce, a €1 million project led by MSSL, started in 2005 and is a part of ESA's Data User Element (DUE) of the Earth Observation Envelope Programme. The main purpose of GlobIce is to define, implement and validate a sea ice information system to support the World Climate Research Programme Climate and Cryosphere project (CliC) with validated sea ice motion, deformation and flux products derived from SAR data in the ESA archive. The GlobICE project has been developed by a consortium of 8 partners and is due to complete in December 2011.
New Low Energy Plasma and Ion Calibration (LEPIC) system at MSSL
Publication date: 6 March 2012
MSSL scientists and engineers are today celebrating the first successful operation of the electron beam in the laboratory's new Low Energy Plasma and Ion Calibration system (LEPIC). The original design concept for the novel two-chamber electron beam system was devised by Senior Instrumentation Scientist, Dhiren Kataria, and Facilities Manager, Alex Rousseau. Dhiren said, "We are delighted with this positive result, which is a testament to the hard work and expertise of the whole LEPIC team at MSSL. Thanks go in particular to Alex Rousseau for his part in building the system and to Gary Davison for developing the automation and control systems. We will now concentrate on commissioning the entire system to ultimately provide a world class facility that will underpin MSSL's space plasma instrumentation programme for, we hope, many years to come."
Prof. Andrew Fazakerley awarded RAS Chapman Medal
Publication date: 17 January 2012
MSSL student experiment selected for international rocket launch
Publication date: 5 January 2012
An experiment designed by MSSL students has been selected to be part of the payload onboard a REXUS sounding rocket launch to be launched in 2013. The REXUS programme gives students the chance to design and fly an experiment on a sounding rocket launched from ESRANGE in Kiruna. These rockets carry their payload up to 100 km above northern Scandanacia. Students from around Europe can submit proposals to fly experiments through the European Space Agency (ESA). This year, a team of students from around the UK were accepted to fly PoleCATS, an electron detector based on the work of PhD student Robert Bedington.
MSSL opens an office in Adelaide, South Australia
Publication date: 6 December 2011
MSSL has today opened its first office outside of the UK at UCL's campus, Victoria Square, Adelaide. MSSL's Director, Professor Alan Smith was there to be part of the opening and also to be present at UCL's first ever degree ceremony abroad. The MSSL presence will augment the existing UCL School of Energy and Resources (whose students graduated) and the UCL International Energy Policy Institute. MSSL in Australia will focus on both providing engineering management training and education and also work with Australian industry and academia in the development of technology both for space and terrestrial applications.
Making contact with the only British launched satellite
Publication date: 28 October 2011
Today is the 40th anniversary of Britain as a spacefaring nation. On the 28th of October 1971, the UK launched Prospero - a science and technology demonstration satellite - on top of a Black Arrow rocket from Woomera, Australia. This made the UK the 6th nation to demonstrate a working orbital launch capability. However, this launch was to be first and last demonstration of Britain's capability.
UCL Participation in new ESA mission Euclid
Publication date: 6 October 2011
Astronomers in two departments at UCL – Mullard Space Science Laboratory and Physics & Astronomy, and across Europe are celebrating today with the official selection of the Euclid space mission by the European Space Agency (ESA). This new satellite will be launched at the end of this decade and will provide Hubble Space Telescope-quality images across the whole sky.
UCL/MSSL involved in new European Space Agency Science Mission - Solar Orbiter
Publication date: 4 October 2011
UCL scientists/engineers are to provide instruments for a major space mission just selected by the European Space Agency (ESA). The mission, called Solar Orbiter, will be sent into the inner solar system (as close as the orbit of Mercury) and will carry a set of telescopes to image the Sun and a complementary set of instruments to sample the outflowing solar wind. The mission will reveal how the Sun creates and controls the solar wind and thereby affects the environments of all the planets. UCL has major roles in two of the ten instruments which will fly on the mission.
Space telescopes reveal secrets of turbulent black hole
Publication date: 29 September 2011
At the centre of many galaxies are supermassive black holes which have the mass of millions of stars. The huge gravitation attraction of these black holes means that they pull in surrounding material. Some of the material disappears into the black hole, but some is ejected in turbulent outbursts. An international team of astronomers, including scientists at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), has revealed some striking new features of such an outburst around a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy. They found a very hot corona hovering above the black hole where ultraviolet light is converted into X-rays, and cold gas 'bullets' speeding outwards with velocities up to 700 km/s.
ESA's ERS-2 satellite taken out of service after 16 year mission
Publication date: 12 September 2011
MSSL Launches its new website
Publication date: 9 September 2011
MSSL is proud to announce the launch of its new website.
Staff at the UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics, also known as the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, have been working hard to create a new website for the laboratory. The new site showcases the science, teaching and industrial project work undertaken at MSSL.
Observations of plasma jet braking by Cluster
Publication date: 4 July 2011
Most of the matter in the universe is in a plasma state - a hot gas in which the electrons are stripped from the atomic nuclei. High speed plasma flows, or jets, are seen throughout the universe, from solar flares to emissions from black holes. A recent study by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala, and Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London has provided new insights into the mechanisms that control these plasma jets.
New results from Saturn's moons
Publication date: 1 June 2011
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