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Small satellite micro-thrusters - developing the existing Pocket Rocket thruster to create a satellite-ready unit

Project Description

The University of Auckland is developing micro-thruster systems for small and nano satellites. We are looking for a PhD candidate to work on creating new and developing existing thruster systems that are suitable for use within constrained satellite mass, volume and power budgets. An example of a suitable system under development, is the "Pocket Rocket" electrothermal plasma thrust system developed along with the Australian National University and Stanford University. Other areas of potential research could include double layer Helicon thrust systems.

This project will require the PhD candidate to develop the existing Pocket Rocket thruster to create a satellite-ready unit. The student will need to use or develop skills in mechanical engineering, mechatronics, experimental physics and experimental design to address this research goal.

The PhD candidate may be enrolled under the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Engineering, as appropriate.

For further information, contact:

Dr John Cater (Engineering) (
Dr Nicholas Rattenbury (Physics) (

Funding Notes

An annual scholarship of NZD 27,500 is available for three years. Funding for three years' tuition fees is also offered.

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