Class of 2017 DRILL into a new mission

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Class of 2017

In the culmination of a year’s hard work, the students of the MSc Space Science and Engineering programme have applied everything they have learnt to put together a new mission proposal that would meet the cost cap of an ESA M-class mission. During the final 6 weeks of the course, the students worked together in a Group Project to respond to an announcement of opportunity to propose a lunar sample return mission. A 60,000 word proposal later, they successfully presented 'DRILL: a lunar sample return mission to the far side of the moon' to a panel of experts from SSTL, the University of Manchester, STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Lab and QMUL.

Electronics Assembly Technician

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Applications are invited for the post of Flight Electronic Assembly Technician at MSSL to support the Laboratory’s space science instrumentation programme.

MSSL PhD Student presented award at international SHINE meeting

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Georgina Graham

Joint MSSL and ESA PhD student Georgina Graham was awarded the Outstanding Student Poster Award at the Solar Heliospheric and INterplanetary Environment (SHINE) 2017 Workshop in Saint-Sauveur, Quebec, Canada. SHINE is a very strongly discussion driven conference  with a unique style that sets it apart from many other annual conferences. SHINE workshops are driven by community interest and controversy, with the aim of engaging both established members of the field and students in conversations about current issues with data, theories and models. 

Senior Teaching Fellow in Technology Management

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MSSL is seeking to appoint a Senior Teaching Fellow to our Technology Management group. The successful applicant will contribute significantly to the teaching and training activities of the Technology Management Group at MSSL, dedicating most of their time to academic Masters-level teaching at UCL’s main campus in London, and to industrial training at various locations in the UK and overseas. The successful applicant may also have the opportunity to conduct project management or systems engineering for one or more instrumentation development projects at MSSL. The post will be based at Holmbury St Mary (Surrey) or central London, to suit the applicant’s circumstances (although travel to both sites will be necessary).

New clue to solving the mystery of the sun’s hot atmosphere

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The largest active region of the solar cycle on 23 October 2014 (credit: NASA)

The elemental composition of the Sun’s hot atmosphere known as the ‘corona’ is strongly linked to the 11-year solar magnetic activity cycle, a team of scientists from UCL, George Mason University and Naval Research Laboratory has revealed for the first time. 

Electronics Technician

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We are seeking a new Electronics Technician to join our Electronics Engineering Group. The post holder will work within project teams to assist with the design and test activities that go on in the course of the development of electronics sub-systems for the Laboratory’s space projects. As well as being necessary to support instrument development, this work is seen as a training environment for the more demanding tasks that can be undertaken when experience is gained.

Has Cassini found a universal driver for prebiotic chemistry at Titan?

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Titan's atmospheric haze

An important type of molecule that helps produce complex organic material has been detected within Titan’s hazy upper atmosphere by a UCL-led team as part of the international Cassini-Huygens mission.

SMILE SXI Instrument Software Scientist

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A new postdoctoral position has been created at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL, based at Holmbury St. Mary, near Dorking in Surrey), the home of UCL’s Department of Space and Climate Physics. For administrative purposes the Department is part of the UCL Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS). The position will entail creating and analysing science and instrument simulations, and designing and coding elements of the Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) Pipeline Processing Software. The SXI is the primary instrument onboard the SMILE (Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, mission which is currently under joint development by the European Space Agency and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

MAPS Faculty Teaching Awards 2017

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Each year the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Faculty recognises excellence in teaching by staff and teaching assistants at all levels within the faculty through the Faculty Teaching Awards.

IOP Medal and Prize for Prof. Lucie Green

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Prof. Lucie Green (courtesy: IOP)

Congratulations to Prof. Lucie Green who was awarded the IoP's 2017 Lise Meitner Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to public outreach, via public lectures, science festivals, organising public events and open days, frequent radio and TV appearances including presenting, and writing a popular science book.

Training for Space Weather Forecasters at MSSL

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Participants and trainers for the Met Office Space Weather Forecasters training workshop at MSSL. (c) MSSL

MSSL hosted its first Training Workshop for Space Weather Forecasters this week. The 3-day course, designed in collaboration with the Met Office, provided space weather forecasters from the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC) with the chance to explore some of the new science in solar-terrestrial physics with potential applications to space weather with experts from both the MSSL Solar Physics and Space Plasma Physics Groups.

Senior Promotion and Awards

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Dr. Jason McEwen, Dr. Raul Leal and Prof. Dhiren Kataria

MSSL is delighted to announce the following senior promotions within the department:

  • Dhiren Kataria has been promoted to Professorial Research Associate
  • Jason McEwen has been promoted to Reader in Astrophysics

Mechanical Designer

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

UCL’s first satellite ‘UCLSat’ launched

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UCLSat in the test chamber at MSSL. Credit: UCL/MSSL

UCLSat, a satellite designed and built by UCL engineers and scientists, has been launched today from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India as part of an international mission called QB50.

PLATO adopted as ESA M-Class mission

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Credit: DLR

We are excited to announce that the PLATO exoplanet mission has been
formally adopted by the European Space Agency as their 3rd Medium Class mission at a meeting of its Science Planning Committee on the 19th June 2017. The PLATO mission is due for launch in 2026 and will operate for a minimum of four years during which it will observer planetary transits and stellar oscillations. By this means it will characterised a very large number of planetary systems and, together with ground-based follow-up observations, will determine the radius of the planets and the mass and age of the central star. The spacecraft will comprise 24 'Normal' cameras and two 'Fast' cameras with the sensors being supplied from the UK by Teledyne in Chemlsford. MSSL has the responsibility for the development and production of the front-end electronics for the 'Normal' cameras and the final characterization of the optical sensors. The project is funded within the UK by the UK Space Agency.

UK Gaia Teams win two Sir Arthur Clarke Awards

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UK Gaia Science Team, including six members from the UCL Mullard Science Space Laboratory, have won an Arthur Clarke Award.

UK Gaia Teams win two Arthur C Clarke Awards

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Last night (31 May 2017), the Gaia project picked up two ‘Arthurs’ at the annual UK Space Conference Gala Dinner held at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester. The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards (the ‘Arthurs’) have been presented since 2005 and recognise significant contributions to space activities.

Magnetic helicity: key to unlocking the solar flare prediction problem?

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Legend: Artistic view of a solar eruption and of the embedded twisted magnetic field structure that carries away the ejected material.

Dr. Gherardo Valori (UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory) recently developed a new method to measure magnetic helicity that is now applied to the testing of new diagnostic tools for the forecast of solar eruptions.

QB50 satellites deployed from ISS

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Three QB50 CubeSats being deployed from the ISS. Courtesy: NASA

Congratulations to the QB50 mission for the successful deployment of 11 CubeSats from the International Space Station. MSSL designed and built Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometers are carried by 2 of the CubeSats launched so far. More to come next week!

MSSL receives Euclid VIS Focal Plane Assembly

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Delivery of the Euclid VIS FPA to MSSL

The Euclid Visible Instrument (VIS) Focal Plan Assembly structural thermal model was delivered at MSSL on Wednesday 17th May. The VIS Instrument is one of two instruments on ESA's Euclid cosmology mission to investigate the evolution and composition of the universe, in particular the properties of dark energy, dark matter and gravity. 

Half a century of space at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory

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MSSL staff

Under the leadership of Harrie Massey (Quain Professor of Physics and head of the Physics Department), UCL became the leading UK university in space research during the 1950s. From this pioneering start sprung UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of its official opening this week.

Half a century of space at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory

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50 years of MSSL (cake by Sue)

Under the leadership of Harrie Massey (Quain Professor of Physics and head of the Physics Department) UCL became the leading UK university doing space research in the 1950s. From this pioneering start sprung UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of its official opening this week. 

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

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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.

Space Policy Workshop 2016

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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.

MAPS Faculty Postgraduate Prize Winners and Dean’s Commendations Announced

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Ekaterini Katsouri (L) and Thomas Armitage (R)

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

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