Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard Branam, PhD


The micro pulsed plasma thruster (micro-PPT) is a simple and versatile electric thruster capable of performing multiple missions, from precise attitude control on standard satellites to primary propulsion for nanosatellites. In order to fill this role as both industry and government move toward utilizing smaller satellites, micro-PPTs first need to be thoroughly tested on the ground. This study examines the deposition profile and rate of particle emission from the thruster so that satellite designers understand any potential contamination issues with sensitive instruments and solar panels. Employing a newly assembled vacuum chamber system, four tests were completed with the micro-PPTs, and the results showed that particles discharge in all directions, with the surfaces directly facing the propellant tube collecting exponentially more particle deposition than surfaces at wider angles.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number