Space and Planetary Exploration Laboratory

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Space and Planetary Exploration Laboratory

Space and Planetary Exploration Laboratory (SPEL) was built in 2011 in the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Chile to serve as the headquarters of the design, construction, development and operation of the first Chilean nanosatellite, SUCHAI. Since that year, many students have contributed to the SUCHAI project and others, extending the areas of the laboratory.

Research areas

Space physics and space weather

Our Sun is not only a source of light but also the source of a solar wind. The Earth’s magnetic field shields it from such plasma flow, creating the magnetosphere similar to a turbulent wake behind an obstacle. Numerous satellites have provided invaluable information about space plasmas, allowing us to understand the extreme processes occurring in the near space, such as geomagnetic storms and sub-storms, which threaten human operations both in space and on ground.

Instrumentation and satellite communications

Chile has unique conditions for space exploration and astronomy. We expect to keep contributing to this field in three lines: techniques and technologies to keep clean skies for astronomical observations; astronomical instruments for use in space; and space and planetary physics for stellar and exoplanetary systems


Engineering is key to achieve the scientific goals. We will develop Life in Extreme Environment Labs (LEEL) to evaluate technology to sustain life and instruments to gather data to find candidates for aerial and space missions. Leveraging from our experience in instrumentation, robotics, solar energy and mining, we will focus on its development, transportation, deployment, maintenance and efficiency in space.


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