Student-Faculty Programs Office
Summer 2017 Announcements of Opportunity

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Project:  Electric thruster plume physics and instrumentation
Disciplines:  Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science
Mentor:  Lee Johnson, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 354-9878
Background:  Electric propulsion is one of the baselined enabling technologies for upcoming New Frontiers, Discovery, and Flagship mission studies. Several research efforts to model and experimentally characterize the ionized plasma plume from ion and Hall effect thrusters are underway at JPL. Some of these studies involve optical methods; others involve direct sampling and analysis of the plume ions, neutral atoms, and/or electrons to determine parameters associated with the physics of the plume and engineering of the associated thruster and spacecraft system.
Description:  A summer position is available to work with the JPL Advanced Propulsion Group, along with associated NASA, university and US Air Force researchers. Ion and Hall effect electric thrusters are typically used to provide propellant-efficient in-space propulsion, both for earth-orbiting and deep-space missions. The student will design experiments, develop specialized implementations of thrusters and diagnostics, perform analysis, operate thrusters and instruments, and compare results to other available information, utilizing thrusters operating in JPL and/or AFRL facilities.
Student Requirements:  This opportunity is open to U.S. citizens. The laboratory work environment may contain one or more environments (vacuum, cryogens, lasers, etc.) requiring appropriate safety training.
Sophomore level or greater science and engineering curriculum. Some experience with electrical circuits, mechanical fabrication, and computer programming is helpful.
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: Yes.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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Problems with or questions about submitting an AO?  Call Jen Manglos of the Student-Faculty Programs Office at (626) 395-2885.
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