Research course

Instrumentation for Space-Based Astronomy Including X-Ray and Optical Bands

Open University · Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute - PSSRI

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent).

Months of entry


Course content

The scientists in the Centre for Electronic Imaging and the Space Instrumentation Group at The Open University have been involved in the development of instruments for space applications for many decades. The Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) has long been the detector of choice for space astronomy, such as for ESA’s XMM-Newton and Gaia missions and the upcoming ESA Euclid mission, but new detector technologies are beginning to come under serious consideration.

To be considered for space flight, new detector technologies must undergo serious and detailed testing to increase their Technology Readiness Level (TRL); once a detector is launched on a satellite, there is rarely the chance to make any changes! The field moves rapidly and this studentship would span a range of activities at the cutting-edge of space instrumentation, from detailed detector testing for current missions to more blue-skies research through simulations and testing towards future mission concepts. The studentship offers the chance to work closely with scientists from the missions themselves and the detector manufacturers, e2v technologies, to give experience of both academia and industry.

Potential supervisors:

Department specialisms

Development of an X-ray camera for the OGRE sounding rocket Development of an imaging camera for UKube-1 Investigation of electron multiplying CCD technology for space astronomy Radiation damage in scientific sensors for space Development of CMOS imager for the JANUS camera on JUICE

Fees and funding

For detailed information on current fees visit: Fees and funding

Qualification and course duration


full time
48 months
part time
72 months

Course contact details

Administrative support
+44 (0)1908 659036