UCL News


UCL MSSL 40th anniversary

17 September 2007

More than 250 scientists and engineers gathered 16 September 2007 to mark the 40th anniversary of the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), Britain's longest-serving space-science department.


UCL's physics department was the pioneer of British space science when Sir Harrie Massie initiated the start of scientific space research in 1953, using rockets left redundant at the end of the Second World War.

Later, the Rocket Group at UCL required space for expansion and Mullard Ltd provided the funds to purchase a Victorian mansion in the Surrey countryside. Twelve scientists and engineers moved from London to the UCL MSSL in those early days.

Since then, the UCL MSSL has contributed to more than 250 rocket and satellite projects in collaboration with all the major space agencies around the world. Currently, the UCL MSSL is involved in missions which allow the study of distant galaxies, as well as objects closer to home. These include the Sun and the quest for life on Mars. The event included talks on current research taking place at the UCL MSSL.

"As the UK's longest-serving and largest university space group, the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory has made a vital contribution to international space-science research over the last 40 years," says Professor Alan Smith of the UCL MSSL. "By underpinning an excellent science programme with a strong technological capability we have gained the respect of all the major space agencies, industry, government and fellow academics. We look forward to a future full of exciting scientific discovery including the exploration of life elsewhere in the solar system, exploring the extreme physics seen in astrophysical environments and understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies such as our own."

To find out more about the UCL MSSL, go to UCL MSSL.