Get On Course: Studing Space

Thinking of studying space? Ben Gadd looks at the options
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The Independent Online

If the articles you have been reading in this mini-mag have made you think about studying a space-related course, there are a good number available at UK universities and colleges. Read on for some suggestions and be sure to visit the UCAS website mentioned at the end of this article to have a closer look for yourself.

Physics With Space Science, University Of Southampton

This course is a three-year undergraduate degree and looks at the value of measurements from space in subjects such as atmospheric physics, oceanography and astronomy.

You could also go on to do an MEng in space systems engineering. This new course is the first of its kind in the UK and is concerned with the design and optimisation of a complete space system to meet a set of mission objectives. The space system includes the launch vehicle, the spacecraft and the ground segment, all of which place significant demands on technology.

Space Engineering, Brunel University

This degree covers the development of space instrumentation and equips students for working in the space industry. The course is designed for students with a technical background who wish to learn more about the engineering challenges involved with satellite and spacecraft instrumentation design. There is also the option to study this degree at MEng level.

Astronomy And Space, University Of Glamorgan

This cross-disciplinary astronomy degree allows those without qualifications in mathematics to study the subject. Students gain practical experience of observational astronomy - the university has a number of telescopes - and there is a field school at a Portuguese observatory in the second year.

Space Technology And Planetary Exploration, University Of Surrey

Introduces the fundamentals of space systems and space mission design, alongside practical experience of their application to real-world space engineering problems.

Mission planning and spacecraft design are covered, alongside practical problem solving and system development. The degree programme is supported by the European Space Agency and the UK Industrial Space Committee.

For more information on these and other courses, visit the UCAS website ( Type in "space" on the course search facility for details


Mark A. Kinnersley, the technical director of Eurorockot launch services, tells us about his work at the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company based in Bremen, Germany

I studied aeronautics and astronautics at Southampton university, at degree and PhD level. My priority was to work in the space business. My first job was in fact in IT, working in the space and avionics group of Logica Space and Defence systems.

After one year, I opted to go to Germany and worked on the development of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. This was a great experience, especially in such a large and complex undertaking. This experience put me in very good stead for my latest role of selling launch services.

My job now is as close as you can get to being a rocket scientist, even though I am an engineer. I am responsible for all technical and programme related matters. I lead a team of six mission managers and engineers, providing launch services with the Rockot small launch vehicle. The launches are the best bit of my job. They are really exciting, especially in Baikonur in Kazakhstan and Plesetsk in Russia.

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