MSc Space Technology and Planetary Exploration
- Programme director
- Craig Underwood
- Programme length
- Full-time: 12 months, Part-time: up to 48 months, Part-time: Up to 48 months part-time
- Programme start date
- September 2013
Designed to give you the multidisciplinary knowledge and skills for a career within the space technology industry.
Surrey is at the forefront of a revolution in space, utilising new advances in technology to decrease the cost of space exploration. It was the pioneer of sophisticated ‘micro-satellites’ in the 1980s and has gone on to have a sustained programme of building complete satellites, performing the mission planning, working with international launch agencies and providing in-orbit operations.
Our Space Technology and Planetary Exploration programme is designed to give you the specialist multidisciplinary knowledge and skills required for a career working with space technology and its applications. Surrey students have access to all aspects of the design and delivery of spacecraft and payloads and are very attractive to companies in the space-related industries.
In addition, an MSc Satellite Engineering programme is available. This is aimed at those students who require a more research-focused MSc. This programme is primarily taken by students working in industry, where their extended MSc project can be related to their day-to-day work.
An honours degree in electronic engineering, mathematics, computing or physical sciences. Our minimum entry level is a 2.2 from a good UK university, or overseas equivalent. Relevant industrial experience will also be considered.
English language requirements
IELTS minimum overall: 6.5
IELTS minimum by component:
We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Fees and funding
All fees are subject to increase or review for subsequent academic years. Please note that not all visa routes permit part-time study and overseas students entering the UK on a Tier 4 visa will not be permitted to study on a part-time basis.
|Programme name||Study mode||Start date||UK/EU fees||Overseas fees|
|MSc Space Technology and Planetary Exploration||Full-time||Sept 2013||£6,720||£15,765|
|MSc Space Technology and Planetary Exploration||Part-time||Sept 2013||£560 per 15 credits||£1,310 per 15 credits|
|MSc Satellite Engineering||Full-time||Sept 2013||£6,720||£15,765|
|MSc Satellite Engineering||Part-time||Sept 2013||£635 per 15 credits||£1,310 per 15 credits|
A few scholarships are available from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and charitable trusts.
- Advanced Guidance, Navigation and Control
- Satellite Remote Sensing
- Space Robotics
- Spacecraft Systems Design
Optional modules include:
- Advanced Signal Processing
- Antennas and Propagation
- Digital Design with VHDL
- Dynamics and Control of Spacecraft
- Launch Vehicles and Propulsion
- Mathematics of Signal Processing
- Microwave Engineering Principles
- RF and Microwave Fundamentals
- RF Systems and Circuit Design
- Spacecraft Bus Systems
- Satellite Communications B
Our MSc programmes are made up of eight taught modules. Each module is worth 15 credits. A project, worth 60 credits, is introduced in Semester 1 and runs beyond Semester 2. This brings the total to 180 credits for the programme.
The MSc Space Technology and Planetary Exploration comprises eight taught modules, four in Semester 1 and four in Semester 2. Half of these modules are optional modules, enabling you to tailor your programme to match your interests. A Postgraduate Diploma in Space Technology and Planetary Exploration can be awarded if you acquire 120 credits, including at least 60 credits from taught modules.
Your project is chosen in Semester 1 and work on it begins in Semester 2 on a part-time basis. In Semester 3 you will be working on your project on a full-time basis, with final report and a viva voce assessment conducted at the end of the semester.
As an IET-accredited institution, our programmes are countable under the continuing professional development (CPD) scheme. However, the Satellite Engineering MSc is not IET-accredited due to its extended project component (the dissertation is worth 120 credits).
The project is a major part of the programme. It is designed to enable you to demonstrate your skills and ability to solve real-life problems, while gaining more detailed knowledge on a particular topic. It can be theoretical, simulation-based or experimental. In all cases, you are expected to show innovation and an ability to come up with your own solutions.
Projects can either be carried out within a research group or, when the project is based on a practical problem suggested by industry, at the partner organisation’s premises. Participants have worked with INMARSAT, Logica, BT, Astrium, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and a number of local small companies.
Teaching and assessment
Taught Masters programmes in the Department of Electronic Engineering utilise our research-active staff in conjunction with state-of-the-art facilities. We provide a range of learning experiences – lectures, tutorials, directed study, practical laboratories and project work – that will prepare you for your professional life. The academic staff who teach on this programme are all research-active, and the specialist space modules are delivered by staff recognised as world leaders in small satellite technology.
We are particularly keen to develop in all our students a broad range of generic skills to complement the core technical or scientific competencies of their chosen subject area. Our modular programme format, coupled with the increasing use of innovative teaching and learning strategies such as e-learning and industrially focused short courses, provides a flexible study environment whilst maintaining academic rigour and quality.
All modules are assessed by a combination of formal written examinations, taken at the end of each semester, and coursework assignments.
You will be assigned a personal tutor who will help you to monitor your progress. Very often this tutor will also be your project supervisor, who will guide you through your project work.
Facilities, equipment and support
Through consistent investment, we have built up an impressive infrastructure to support our students and researchers.
The University of Surrey hosts the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) – a unique facility comprising Europe’s largest team of academics and researchers working on small satellites and space engineering. SSC houses laboratories, satellite clean rooms, and a Mission Control Centre designed and developed by students to support international CubeSat operations and also to support the development of the University’s own educational satellites. SSC works very closely with its own spin-out company, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) and its parent company EADS-Astrium.
Our teaching laboratories provide ‘hands-on’ experience of satellite design and construction through the use of EyasSAT nano-satellite kits. They also house meteorological satellite receiving stations for the live reception of satellite weather images.
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
The Surrey Space Centre works closely with University’s space spin-out company, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). This ensures close links between our degree programmes and the industrial activity of this cutting-edge space research company.
SSTL was originally formed in 1985 by a small group of academic researchers, whose pioneering spirit has helped it to become a leader in space technology, producing over 36 satellite missions to date with 11 more currently under construction. SSTL has developed a full, cradle-to-grave small satellite capability, covering all aspects from mission definition and design, subsystem design and manufacturing, assembly integration and test, spacecraft testing, environmental testing, launch procurement/management/integration and support, mission commission and operations.
The company is unique in that it designs and manufactures a significant proportion of its satellite components, subsystems and equipments itself, employing over 400 people
SSTL has formed its own spin-out company, DMCii, to exploit the imaging data generated by its highly successful constellation of Earth-imaging micro-satellites. These satellites are playing a major role in providing timely and detailed satellite imagery for humanitarian purposes. For example, Surrey’s Beijing-1 satellite was the major source of humanitarian imagery during the 2008 China earthquake disaster, enabling the assessment of damage and the planning of rescue efforts over the vast area affected. SSTL also designed, built and launched Giove-A – the first of Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites, and is currently building the first operational satellites.
Recently, SSTL was acquired by EADS Astrium, one of the world’s leaders in space transportation, spacecraft and satellite services including prime contractor for Ariane 5, the Columbus space laboratory, the Automated Transfer Vehicle for the International Space Station, its leading-edge large and complex geostationary telecommunications satellites, and the Skynet 5 secure communications system for the UK Ministry of Defence. SSTL will complement Astrium UK’s existing space capabilities that include space transportation, satellites and services. The University continues to work closely with SSTL and EADS Astrium in developing innovation in space technology.