Staff Services Student Enterprise

Extreme conditions, space and satellites

The University of Edinburgh is a specialist in space and satellites.

Led by the Space Innovation Hub, at the University’s Bayes Centre, our researchers work in an extraordinary range of space-related activities: engineers are exploring the management of fire risk in space and developing rocket fuel pods; chemists are developing clean-burn rocket fuels; and astronomers are tracking the skies for space debris. We have teams developing deep-space probes, and others writing literature about space. Our geoscientists are training the next generation within SENSE, the UK's Centre for Doctoral Training in Earth Observation. Our students are even developing their own satellite missions. 

Edinburgh aims to be the Space Data Capital of Europe, as a vibrant centre for world-class talent, data science and space and satellite entrepreneurship. We are known for our role driving the Scottish space sector through generating growth in Edinburgh as well as connecting the wider Scottish space community to propel the Scottish space sector ahead.

Key areas of expertise

Advanced geosciences

We are exceptionally well-equipped with the latest technologies to enable our researchers to stay at the forefront of their fields. The School houses an impressive range of advanced geoscience facilities and services and is involved with a number of collaborative centres of research excellence.


The UK Centre for Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary research centre established in 2011 at the University of Edinburgh. Its scientific focus began with the study of life in extremes and investigating the conditions that give rise to habitable environments for life on the Earth and potentially beyond.

More recently, it has expanded this remit to understanding the conditions that give rise to habitable worlds and studying how life emerges, proliferates and leaves traces on such worlds.

Astronomy Technology

The UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) is a national centre of excellence for the development of scientific instrumentation and facilities for ground- and space-based astronomy.

Based at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, and operated by STFC it has a world-class reputation for delivering innovative and capable cameras, spectrometers and even turnkey telescope systems.

Higgs Centre for Innovation

The Higgs Centre for Innovation brings together world-class research in astronomy and particle physics and the instrumentation expertise that underpins it, with business incubation facilities and laboratories suitable for commercial use. The Science and Technology Facilities Council and the University have a long history of developing and commercialising revolutionary science and technology.

The Milo Institute

The Milo Institute: a legacy of discovery, the future of exploration. Arizona State University and Lockheed Martin have been at the forefront of space innovation since the dawn of the space age. The University of Edinburgh joined the MILO Institute in 2019 and we are proudly working together.

Space Innovation

The Bayes Centre is the coordinating Space Innovation Hub for DDI (Data-Driven Innovation) Space and Satellites activities; focussing on working with industry, governments, and NGOs to accelerate the translation of the University’s cutting-edge Space and Satellite research into social and economic impact.

SPRINT network

The University of Edinburgh is a key partner for the SPRINT network which is the Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology. As a result, Edinburgh links into an extensive UK-wide network of expertise and skills in space-related activities.