20 Apr 2010



RAL Space supports astronomers using instruments in space and on the ground, with a wide range of expertise in design, building, testing and calibration.


​​​​​​​​​​Baby Stars in the Ea​gle Nebula
Herschel PACS/SPIRE (Credit: ESA)


RAL scientists participate in astronomical research using data from these and other instruments to further our understanding of galaxies and the formation of stars and planets.

We are at the heart of the UK's infrared/microwave astronomy programme, with involvement in past missions such as IRAS, ISO and AKARI, and recent missions such as ESA's Herschel and Planck spacecraft, and the follow-on to the Hubble Space Telescope, the NASA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We also have involvement in astronomical missions at other wavelengths, such as the Large Millimetre Telescope in Mexico, and in ground based astronomical facilities such as the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) in Chile, the LOFAR radio network in the UK and the Square Kilometre Array, the largest telescope ever built, located in Australia and South Africa.

RAL Scientists are the engineering lead for the ARIEL mission that will launch in the late 2020's and characterise​ the atmosphere and chemical composition of over 1000 exoplanets outside our own solar system.

We are also playing a role in defining future missions such as the LISA mission - to look at gravitational waves from orbiting black holes - and the SPICA cosmology mission.

Further information on current and recent RAL Space Astronomy projects:​

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries