DEPARTMENT OF SPACE & CLIMATE PHYSICS and
DEPARTMENT OF ELECTRONIC & ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
One-year MSc/Graduate Diploma/Graduate Certificate in SPACE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
(with pathways in SPACE SCIENCE and in SPACECRAFT TECHNOLOGY & SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS)
SPACE AND COMMUNICATIONS
RESEARCH AT UCL
has been very actively involved in space research for many years and
most of its space activities are concentrated at the Mullard Space
Science Laboratory (MSSL). This is a broadly based institute that was
established in 1965 following a generous grant from the Mullard
Company. MSSL has gained a world-wide reputation for high quality space
research in a range of scientific disciplines. The increasing
importance of this work in space was recognised by the formation of the
Department of Space and Climate Physics around the MSSL in October
studies Galactic and extra-galactic X-ray sources such as neutron star
binary systems and active galaxies. Instruments have been built for
Copernicus, Ariel V, Ariel VI, EXOSAT, Spacelab 1 and the
German-NASA-UK ROSAT, and most recently for ESA's X-ray astronomy
XMM-Newton and NASA's gamma-ray burst Swift observatories. The Group is
also involved in ESA's Herschel and Gaia missions, one launched in 2009 and
the other due for launch in 2012.
Plasma Physics and Planetary
study the interaction of the solar wind with bodies in the solar system
(e.g. the Earth's magnetosphere) using innovative space
instrumentation. MSSL played a leading role in the AMPTE magnetospheric
mission by building most of the UK sub-satellite and providing an
instrument to measure ion velocities. A similar instrument on the
Giotto spacecraft produced important results on the plasma and shock
fronts around cometary nuclei. The Cassini mission, in orbit around
Saturn, carries MSSL plasma instruments, and plasma analysers have also
been developed for the four Cluster spacecraft, currently flying in
formation in the Earth's magnetosphere. Instrumentation has also been
provided for ESA's Mars and Venus Express missions.
The MSSL Theory
applies physics and computational methods to seek general insight into
exotic phenomena that are studied in space science. Theoretical
modelling informs the interpretation of practical observation, while
observation stimulates and constrains theories. Of particular interest
are accretion onto degenerate stars, cosmology, gamma-ray bursts,
isolated neutron stars, jets in active galactic nuclei, radiative
transfer, ultra-compact binary systems, ultraluminous X-ray sources,
X-ray sources in galaxies.
The Solar and Stellar
has made observations of X-rays from solar flares with instruments on
NASA's Solar Maximum Mission and the Japanese Yohkoh spacecraft, which
have led to a better understanding of the energetic processes that
operate during these events. A UV spectrometer was flown on the
Spacelab 2 Shuttle flight and spectrometers were developed for ESA's
Solar Heliospheric Observatory and the Russian Koronas mission. MSSL
instrumentation is currently flying on the Japanese solar mission
focusses on tropical storms worldwide, European extreme weather and
global drought, offering innovative research and award-winning products
to benefit the prediction and monitoring of these weather and climate
extremes. The Group's quantitative warnings help industry, government
and society to better manage the financial and humanitarian risks
caused by extreme weather.
supports MSSL's flight hardware programme through developing the
detectors and sensors used, by operating and maintaining specialist
facilities, and by conducting a programme of strategic research. Areas
of instrumentation supported by the group include microchannel plate
detectors, comprising progressive geometry anode readouts,
charge-coupled devices (CCDs), gaseous X-ray detectors, and cryogenic
microcalorimeters including adiabatic demagnetization coolers. MSSL
also has specialist teams of electronic,
engineers who design, construct and test the space instruments.
The Department of
Electronic and Electrical Engineering
has been at the forefront of research in microwaves, antennas and radar
for two decades and has taken a leading role in research in optics and
opto-electronics since the mid seventies.
topics relevant to the space technology field include: phased and
active antenna arrays for communication systems and radar, dual
reflector antennas for radar tracking and ground station applications,
self phased arrays for mobile satellite communications, and Rotman lens
antennas for multiple beam applications. In addition, research on
microwave and millimetre-wave propagation has been extended to the
optical waveband. Systems research includes bistatic radar systems,
direction finding systems and a range of advanced altimetry and
synthetic aperture techniques.
In the optical
field, the Department was the first to establish the new field of
optical fibre sensors, in which the optical technology is used for
instrumental purposes with both industrial and avionics applications.
The growing field of fibre optics is being researched for new
components using thin film technology and significant developments have
been made in optical switching and optical computing. Strength in this
latter field is exemplified by the establishment of a British Telecom
Chair in Opto-Electronics and two Lectureships funded by Solartron
Transducers and GEC Research.
demonstration of the scale and relevance of all this work is the high
level of external funding received by the two Departments from the UK
Research Councils, the European Space Agency, the Department of Trade
and Industry, the Ministry of Defence and industrial companies.
GENERAL PROGRAMME INFORMATION
The normal entry requirement for this MSc/Graduate Diploma/Graduate Certificate
Programme is at least a second class Honours degree, or its
equivalent. The main component of the applicant's degree subject should
normally be physics or electronic engineering (for the pathway in Spacecraft Technology and Satellite
Communications), or physics (for the Space Science pathway).
Duration and Structure - MSc Programme
The MSc Programme lasts for one calendar year (September - September).
All lectures are given at UCL in London. During the first term
(September - December) students attend Core lecture modules; most of these are examined in May or June, except one module for each pathway that is examined before the end of the first term. During the second term (January -
April) students attend four Advanced modules, each of approximately 30
hours duration, which are examined during that term or in May or June.
See below for details of the modules and options. Students start on an
Individual Project during the first term and submit a Final Report in
mid July. They then take part in the Group Project for the remainder
of the Programme.
modules are of two types. Type I modules run for a whole term, and are
examined in May or June. Type II lecture modules are each given over a single
week, and followed by a tutorial in a subsequent week and an
examination a few weeks later.
Duration and Structure - Graduate Diploma/Graduate Certificate
The Graduate Diploma Programme lasts for about nine months
(September - June). Lectures and exams are the same as for the
equivalent MSc, and the pass mark is the same, but the Diploma
programme includes a reduced amount of project work.
The Graduate Certificate Programme involves no project work, and only the Core modules and one Advanced module need to be passed.
In order to be eligible for an MSc/Graduate Diploma/Graduate Certificate award, a student must complete all components of the Programme satisfactorily.
The Individual Project counts for one third of the overall average MSc mark. To obtain an MSc award, students must obtain the pass
mark in the exams and the project work. The results are not
classified like undergraduate degrees but for a very exceptional
performance a mark of Distinction may be awarded. Students who fail to
reach the pass mark in an individual lecture module or project will
have the opportunity to re-sit the examination in the following year.
For more details about the Programme structure and the syllabi of the
taught modules, take a look at the Students Handbook (selected sections only).
The information given here may be subject
to amendment before or during the Programme referred to.
This page last modified
12 November 2010 by