University of Leicester

The University of Leicester, University Road,
Leicester, LE1 7RH, United Kingdom
0116 252 2522 

The University of Leicester has a long and distinguished record of discovery in space science. We play vital roles in many space missions for agencies including NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and UKSA, ISRO (India) and JAXA (Japan), covering astronomical, planetary and EO science missions.

The Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation (LISEO) brings together all the research work within the University with focuses on missions and instruments, space & EO data and innovation. Our aim is to bring science leadership and develop expertise on data analysis, data exploitation and leading technology that can be applied to space and space enabled economy.

Capability highlight

  1. Build (Satellites): Electronics & robotics, Software & engineering and Materials & energy

X-ray focussing technology: Designing and developing X-ray focussing technology for both small and large scales.

Analogue and digital electronics design and construction: Designing, assembling and testing space electronics including a surface mount component capability.

On-board electronics and small satellite: Developing advanced on-board electronics and computing as well as very small satellites (nano-, pico- and femto-satellites).

Space mechanical, thermal and optical engineering: Undertaking detailed mechanical and thermal design of instruments and components, which includes vibration analysis, and correlation with both mechanical and thermal test results.

High voltage engineering: Electrical insulation materials for applications in HVDC and HVAC power systems, including power cables and transformers.

Space nuclear power systems: Exploring the use of Americium-241, which can be chemically extracted from nuclear waste, to build radioisotope thermoelectric generators.

  1. Store: Data processing

International and industry data integration: Using international and industry data following exchange standards and technology protocols.

Field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and processor based systems: Developing FPGA for space instrumentation used for on board readout of detectors.

  1. Analyse: Earth observation

Data sets for climate change and weather forecast studies: Analysing greenhouse gases, sea and land surface temperatures, precipitation and fire disturbances

Land cover change, forest monitoring and carbon: Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Urban environment research and pollution transport: Monitoring air quality, thermal properties and green roofs

  1. Product: Insight & monitoring

Traffic management systems: Delivering near-real time pollution monitoring over urban areas to tackle transport issues. The system assimilates data products from heterogeneous sources, such as the Copernicus MACC-II regional air quality feeds.

Computational fluid-dynamics (CFD) simulation for pollution monitoring: Modelling the effectiveness of trees at dispersing road traffic emissions with real buildings and trees data from LIDAR.

Airborne mapping: Using data from both in-situ hardware and Copernicus MACC-II to formulate information on air quality enabling local authorities to influence air quality in urban areas.

  1. Beyond Earth: Space exploration and Space research

X-ray optics: Exploring the variety of extra-solar planets, understanding the birth and death of stars, explaining the origin of gamma-ray bursts, determining the properties of galaxies and active galaxies and using extra-galactic surveys to investigate the structure of the Universe.

Planetary environments research: Conducting experimental and data analysis studies with spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based facilities to understand the interaction of planetary environments with the solar wind.

Orbital and radiation analysis: Undertaking mission orbit and space radiation analysis on our space instrumentation development based around use of mission analysis software and radiation analysis software.

Ground data processing facilities for space missions: A ground monitoring and control facility was designed and implemented and integrated with both NASA and ESA ground segments allowing cross-support from separate orbiter missions. Secure data handling, command sequence validation and science commissioning activities were all developed from scratch within an extremely constrained schedule and cost cap.

  1. Facilities

Space Park Leicester: An initiative to develop a global hub and collaborative community based on space and space-enabled technologies. Alongside the development of cutting-edge satellite technology, the site will be home to analysis of space-enabled data that can transform international communications, resource management, environmental monitoring and disaster relief.

Other facilities: Scanning electron microscopes, transmission electron microscopes, cleanrooms, bakeout facility, small thermal vacuum facility, long beam line X-ray test facility, hydrogen peroxide plasma steriliser, planetary and assembly integration and verification laboratory and cryogenic laboratory.

Innovation advisor

Carmine Maffei:
Stephen Wright:

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