Mars Space Ltd (MSL) is a SME formed in 2007 and based in Southampton. The company’s main area of expertise lies in space electric propulsion. Space propulsion is the technology behind the movement of spacecraft. Space electric propulsion came in to compensate the physical limitations of chemical space propulsion.

MSL was born as a spinoff company from the University of Southampton (UoS). The entire staff of MSL holds a doctorate and is composed mostly of current and former UoS staff members/students. At present Mars Space Ltd has a turnover of about £400,000 and a total of 5 full time employees. MSL has over 100 years of experience in the field of space propulsion, through the cumulated work of its directors and employees.

Since its incorporation MSL has been involved in several R&D activities carrying out the design, manufacture, testing, modelling and qualification of several electric propulsion devices covering power levels ranging from 2W to 50kW. MSL has acquired its own premises in 2011 and has now a fully equipped propulsion laboratory with all the necessary diagnostic to directly verify the performance of various propulsion technologies.

The company notably developed the first pulsed plasma thruster for Cubesat application, PPTCUP.