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MSc Space Science and Technology

The Open University's MSc in Space Science and Technology has been designed to help people advance their careers in the space sector. It is open to anyone who already has an undergraduate honours degree in physics, engineering, chemistry, maths or geosciences. It provides the knowledge and skills that are needed for working in space sector industries and provides a route into academic research in space-related areas.   

The programme has three parts:
  • A core module in space science
  • Elective modules that develop professional skills
  • A space science/space technology project module

Core module (S818 Space Science)

The module S818 Space Science forms the core of the MSc in Space Science and Technology Built on the space research experience of OU academics, this module takes a case-study based approach. It provides a solid introduction to space mission design and operations while engaging with current results at the forefront of planetary and space science.

The module is heavily influenced by our research. So, for example, some of the topics covered are:

  • imaging detectors for space missions
  • mass spectrometry for a cometary lander 
  • the prospects for science conducted from the lunar surface
  • high-precision astrometry of stars in our Galaxy
  • geological exploration of the surface of Mars

The module makes extensive use of the facilities of the award-winning OpenSTEM Labs to enable students to operate remote experiments and telescopes. They also develop their skills in handling astronomical and space science data using the Python programming language. A highlight of the module is a Mars Rover mission simulation (based on the OU's own Mars yard) that provides valuable experience of remote team-working to achieve a science goal.



This core module can be taken as a stand-alone qualification - the Postgraduate Certificate in Space Science.

Elective modules

The elective modules allow you to develop project management and technical skills that are highly valued by employers in the space sector. Futher details are given here.

Project module (SXS841)

The culmination of the MSc is the Masters level project in physical sciences (SXS841) in which students conduct an in-depth investigation into a topic of their chosing in space science or space technology. Projects range from the purely scientific to the highly applied. Example topic areas include:

  •  In-situ Lunar resource utilisation
  •  Studies of variable stars (using the OU's robotic telescopes)
  •  Techniques for tracking of space debris
  •  Mapping cryovolcanic ejecta on Europa

The project allows students to highlight their individual interests while developing research and presentation skills that are highly valued by employers.

Click here for full information about the MSc in Space Science and Technology.

Image credits: (top) ESA, (middle, bottom) The Open University