The current research of the Space Systems Laboratory is focused on the characterization and application of low-power propulsion, specifically electrospray propulsion, as well as the development of new space concepts. See below for brief overviews of ongoing research (this page is currently under construction and many projects may not be listed).
Electrospray propulsion is a promising technology for main propulsion of small spacecraft or precise position and attitude control for all sizes of spacecraft. Our current efforts are focused on the characterization of electrospray propulsion systems either in a laboratory environment or in space along with analyzing the application of electrospray thrusters towards spacecraft trajectory design or precision control.
New Space Concepts
A portion of the laboratory’s research is dedicated to analyzing the feasibility of new space systems concepts. Current examples include the use of ionic-liquid ion sources for electrostatic actuation on atmosphere-less planetary bodies as well as long-baseline time-of-flight mass spectrometer with free-flying spacecraft.