We have been developing, manufacturing and testing space instruments at the Department of Physics since the 1970s. Our team has specialist knowledge of designing and producing precision instrumentation for space exploration and our in-house facilities mean that we are able to test and assure all of our work.

Recent and current projects include:

  • Radiative cooler and infrared focal plane for Composite Infrared Spectrometer on Cassini Saturn Orbiter: collaboration with NASA Goddard; UKRI STFC funded
  • Infrared filter assemblies for NASA Mars Climate Sounder and Diviner Lunar radiometers currently orbiting Mars and the Moon
  • Structure, electronics and test for microseismometers for NASA InSight Mars lander: collaboration with Imperial College, CNES and JPL; UKSA funded
  • Lunar Thermal Mapper infrared radiometer currently being manufactured for NASA Trailblazer lunar orbiter; UKSA funded

What we do

  • Mechanical design
  • Thermal design
  • Optical design
  • Thermal vacuum testing
  • Vibration testing
  • Shock testing
  • Focal plane design and manufacture, working closely with IML.
  • Calibration target design and manufacture
  • Product assurance
  • Planetary protection for planetary missions
  • Flight electronics manufacture, including flight flexible cabling based on etched circuits produced in the Department of Physics' photofabrication unit


  • Clean rooms for instrument assembly and test
  • Vacuum chambers with cooling systems
  • 15kN vibrator
  • Shock test rig for bespoke profiles
  • Cryogenic vacuum facilities for seismometer testing

Facilities are mainly used for our own instrument development but can be used commercially subject to availability.