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AACE-ASTRO-107: Sub-Newton hydrogen peroxide thruster for spacecraft propulsion

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Ryan
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

As spacecraft get smaller, their subsystems have to get smaller. One such system is a propulsion element that can fit within the size, mass constraints of the satellite but still offer good performance. A suitable propulsion subsystem that can fit these requirements is a hydrogen peroxide thruster designed to operate at less than 1 Newton of thrust. Hydrogen peroxide is a green propellant, defined as a propellant that minimizes or eliminates a critical environmental impact. It differs from the more typical hydrazine propellant, which is highly toxic and in particular carcinogenic. A thruster utilizing hydrogen peroxide can be scaled down to thrusts of less than 1N; i.e. micropropulsion level thrust. This PhD is to design and manufacture such a thruster with collaborators at Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL). SSTL are one of the World’s premier small satellite manufacturers, delivering small satellite missions for 30 years - longer than anyone else in the world. They have particular expertise in developing low-cost subsystems, and have a long collaboration with the University of Southampton in developing hydrogen peroxide thrusters. The PhD studentship will involve a minimum 3 month placement at SSTL, working with their Propulsion Systems team.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr. Charlie Ryan, Astronautics research group, Email: [email protected], Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 3881.

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