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Northumbria Space Technology Laboratory (NSTL)

The Northumbria Space Technology Laboratory (NSTL) was formed in the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering based on significant successful funding for space technology research from the UK Space Agency, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Lockheed Martin, and the Office for Students. NSTL includes all of the state of the art facilities needed for developing and environmentally testing of small payloads for space, as well as a dark room for class-4 lasers and optical system testing.

We have a vibration shaker, an X-ray dose chamber and a thermal vacuum chamber, all suitable for launch and low Earth orbit testing.

NSTL has an active programme of research spanning space instrumentation development and technology innovation that links to our existing areas of research excellence in the Faculty. That means: aurora, cameras, climate monitoring, comets, the cryosphere, geography, hyperspectral imagery, LIDAR, machine learning and AI, optical communication, outer planets, photovoltaics, sensors (IR, UV, visible) solar physics, space plasma, space weather, spectroscopy, and telescopes.


A small, red vibration system. The NSTL X-Ray irradiator is a yellow box about the size of a person with radiation warning signs.








Examples of recent successes:


Group leadership and contacts

Work with Us

We are currently hiring two PDRAs and / or Engineers to work in out team on free space optical communications for CubeSats. This 2-year, £6M UKSA project will design, build and test two CubeSats for Low Earth Orbit to perform an in-orbit demonstration of a novel laser free space optics communication system for small satellites. We are also hiring a project manager for this project.

Find the job adverts here:

Laser Free Space Optics Researcher / Engineer

CubeSat Researcher / Engineer

Project Manager

Our project team includes six academics from Northumbria as well as partnerships with Durham Centre for Advanced Instrumentation, e2E Group and Smart Sentry SMS. We have close working relationships in the project with Lockheed Martin UK Space and EnduroSat, who are providing their space industry expertise for our mission engineering management, launch and CubeSat platform design.

To view research papers emanating from this group, please click here to view Northumbria Research Link, our open access repository of research output from Northumbria University. This group is a part of the University’s multi-disciplinary research into the theme of Extreme Environments.

Take Your Business to Space

The Northumbria Space Technology Laboratory is actively looking for industrial parters, from regional SMEs all the way to multinational space sector leaders, to help develop the space technology of the future. If you have an idea for a product, device or service that you would like to develop for the space industry, we may be able to help. We offer low-cost use of our space qualification facilities, co-development of bids for R&D funding for projects that match our research profile, and consultation on how to enter the space industry, just get in touch with the email below.



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Our Mathematics, Physics & Electrical Engineering students learn from the best – inspirational academic staff with a genuine passion for their subject. Our courses are at the forefront of current knowledge and practice and are shaped by world-leading and internationally excellent research.

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Undergraduate Open Day Events

Looking to study in with us in September? Our Undergraduate Open Day Events are the perfect opportunity for you to find out as much as you can about our wide range of courses and world-class facilities.

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