Rocket launching into space.


Space Projects and Instrumentation

Space Projects and Instrumentation

The Space Projects and Instrumentation group performs research which develops new equipment for space-based science projects. We are part of the School of Physics and Astronomy based at Space Park Leicester and include over 70 research, engineering, technical and support staff. Our research delivers equipment to international space missions led by all of the major space agencies and an instrument developed in Leicester has been operational in space every year for over 60 years.

Space operations

The Space Projects and Instrumentation Group supports the space operations of instruments developed within the University. Data is downlinked from the spacecraft to ground stations around the world and received by facilities such as the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.

We are responsible for the operational planning, good health and science return for our instruments, and work together with the teams at the operations centres to ensure safe and successful operations of the mission.

Once science data is returned from our instruments, we are also responsible for calibrating and processing the data so it can be best exploited by scientists in the Group, at the Department, and around the world.

Instrumentation research

The SRC conducts research into the next generation of instrumentation, for space applications and spun-out of space activities for terrestrial applications. An example is the application of a unique X-ray diffraction XRD technique to scientific analysis of cultural heritage artefacts. This pioneering XRD method, conceived at the University of Leicester, is capable of returning high quality diffraction data without any alteration to the sample, in direct contrast to conventional XRD methods and increasingly considered of paramount importance in the heritage field. The technique has been proven at the Diamond Light Source synchrotron, and the next step is to establish a laboratory version using a microcalorimeter-based spectrometer. This project also illustrates the highly interdisciplinary nature of much of the SRC’s research portfolio.

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