The Open University (OU) is a distance-learning and research university based in Milton Keynes and was established in 1969. With more than 250,000 students enrolled, it is one of the biggest universities in the UK for undergraduate education, with the majority of those students spread throughout the United Kingdom, studying off-campus. However, there are also a number of full-time postgraduate research students based on the 48-hectare university campus where they use the OU facilities for research, and it is these facilities that are of interest to this space facilities study.
The university comprises 11 faculties each containing a number of departments and one of these, the Department of Physical Sciences within the Faculty of Science is located in the Robert Hooke Building on the Milton Keynes Campus. It is this Department where most space research activities are conducted, supported by a number of specialist facilities, many of which are dedicated to the Department’s particular interest, planetary research.