Malcolm Macdonald, B. Eng. (Hons) PhD C.Eng. FRAeS FRSE FRSA


  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Research Interests

The Applied Space Technology Laboratory is addressing global challenges by working at the boundaries between disciplines to deliver a step-change in the democratisation, exploration, and exploitation of space.

  • Developing new space and adjacent sector technologies in response to global challenges and anticipated demands, accelerating the democratisation of the use of space, and the data and services it provides.
  • Developing technologies and algorithms to process the exponentially increasing data available from space to help us better understand our Earth, and to make this knowledge available to all.
  • Developing insights to network systems across the natural sciences to engineer vastly more connected, efficient, and sustainable space systems.

My research has an end-to-end focus on the development and application of systems by ensuring an understanding of the end application. Challenging conventional ideas and working at the interface between disciplines I seek to advance new concepts in the exploration and exploitation of space, for which I was awarded the Royal Society of Edinburgh Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane Medal. Specifically, my research develops concepts in, and applications of space technology, including solar sailing, nanosatellites, and constellations, by developing research into astrodynamics, networked systems, swarming, and distributed and collaborative systems.

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Space Mission Analysis & Design
  • Space Technology
  • Astrodynamics
  • Swarm Engineering
  • Network Systems
  • Systems Engineering
  • Technology Roadmapping and Analysis
  • Technical Foresight & Horizon Scanning
  • Advanced Concepts
  • CubeSats
  • Modelling & Simulation

Personal Statement

I am the Director of the Centre for Signal and Image Processing (CeSIP), and also the Director of the Applied Space Technology Laboratory (ApSTL) within CeSIP, which I founded and where I lead a team of staff and PGR students.

I am a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Space Research (C-Space), University College Dublin, Vice-Chair of the Space Technology Advisory Committee of the UK Space Agency, and an Associate Editor of the AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics. I am also a member of the Industry Advisory Board of Seraphim Space Investment Trust PLC, and a Non-Executive Director of Weather Stream Inc.

Previously I was the Founding Director of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, SoXSA (2014 - 2020), and a Non-Executive Board Member of UK Space Agency (2017 - 2020).

Supporting science and engineering communication to make it more easily accessible, especially to under-represented groups, I provide comment to national & international, specialist & mainstream media, across written word, audio, & visual.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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