The Space Propulsion Laboratory, part of the Space Systems Lab, studies and develops systems for increasing performance and reducing costs of space propulsion. A major area of interest to lab is electric propulsion, in which the electrical, rather than chemical energy propels spacecraft. The benefits are numerous and very important, that is the reason why many communication satellites and scientific missions are turning to electric propulsion systems. In the future these plasma engines will allow people to do such things as explore in more detail the structure of the universe, increase the lifetime of commercial payloads or look for signs of life in far away places. Other areas of research include microfabrication; numerical simulation, numerical simulation, Hall thrusters, space tethers, orbit optimization, spacecraft-thruster interactions and plasma waves emission and propagation.
Space Propulsion Laboratory