Available student project - Plasma Thrusters for Spacecraft

Research fields

  • Engineering in Physics
  • Plasma Applications and Technology
Measured plasma plume of ANU thruster

Project details

Orbiting spacecraft need to be able to control their orientation relative to the earth for mapping of natural resources and relative to a star to give a stable background for astronomical measurements. Cold gas thrusters expand gas through a nozzle to accelerate it in a controlled fashion since the thrust is a force proportional to the velocity times the gas usage. A plasma can be used to increase the velocity of the propellant thereby saving the gas usage. Projects are available on different types of thrusters from palm sized nano-satellites ranging up to bar fridge sized mini-satellites. The research can be purely physics ranging through to mainly engineering.

Required background

A background in Physics or Engineering is desirable.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • PhB (2nd or 3rd year)
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Boswell, Roderick profile

Updated:  4 September 2019/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster