Ion Space Propulsion Lab

Brandon Jackson

Ph.D. Candidate

Brandon earned his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from MSOE in 2012. He started in the Isp lab in the fall of 2012. His work focuses on computational modeling of ionic liquid electrosprays.

Nathan Ford

Graduate Research Assistant

Nathan earned his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech in 2015. He started in the Isp lab in the summer of 2015. His work focuses on multi peak emission of electrospray.

Elizabeth VanHeusden

Graduate Research Assistant

Elizabeth earned her B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Tech in 2008. She returned to Michigan Tech in the fall of 2016 to join the Isp lab. Her work focuses on the using ferrofluids to cool Hall effect thruster components.

Isp Lab Alumni – Ph.D.

Kurt Terhune

Ph.D.

Kurt Terhune is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Isp lab. His research focuses on mass measurements of ionic liquid ferrofluid electrosprays. He is a recipient of the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship.

Mark A. Hopkins

Ph.D.

Mark Hopkins completed his Ph.D. in the fall of 2014. He received his B.S. in electrical engineering in 2010 from Michigan Tech while completing undergraduate research in the Isp Lab. Mark’s dissertation title is Evaluation of Magnesium as a Hall Thruster Propellant. Mark is an NSF graduate research fellowship recipient.

Edmond J. Meyer

Ph.D.

EJ Meyer completed his Ph.D. in December 2014. He joined the lab in January 2010 after earning dual bachelor degrees in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. He went on to earn a M.S. in mechanical engineering in 2013. EJ’s dissertation title is Development of an ionic liquid ferrofluid electrospray source and mode shape studies of a ferrofluid in a non-uniform magnetic field.

Carrie S. (Niemela) Hill

Ph.D.

Carrie completed her doctoral work in December 2012. Carrie began her graduate career in the Isp Lab in the fall of 2006, though much of her research was conducted at the Air Force Research Lab at Edwards Air Force Base. The title of her dissertation is Translation Studies on an Annular Field Reversed Configuration Device for Space Propulsion.

Rob L. Washeleski

Ph.D.

Rob Washeleski completed his Ph.D. in the fall of 2012. Rob joined the Isp Lab research team in August of 2006 after receiving his B.S. in electrical engineering at Michigan Tech. His doctoral research focused on non-intrusive laser diagnostics of Hall effect thrusters using laser Thomson scattering. Rob’s dissertation title is Laser Thomson Scattering Measurements of Electron Temperature and Density in a Hall-Effect Plasma.

Jerry L. Ross

Ph.D.

Jerry Ross completed his Ph.D. in the spring of 2011. He completed a B.S. in physics, a B.S. in mathematics and a B.A. in theater at Alma College (Mich.) in the spring of 2003. Jerry began his graduate work at Michigan Tech in the physics department for the 2003-04 school year and joined the Isp Lab team in January of 2004. Jerry’s dissertation title is, Probe Studies of a Hall Thruster at Low Voltages.

Jason M. Makela

Ph.D.

Jason Makela completed his Ph.D. in the spring of 2010. He completed his B.S. in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech in 2004. Jason joined the Isp Lab research team in May 2004 and was involved in the development of condensable Hall-effect thrusters and cathodes. His doctoral dissertation title is Re-generable Field Emission Cathodes for Electric Propulsion. Makela continues to develop electric propulsion technology and also leads the production of Hall thruster systems for various commercial and government customers.

Emily C. (Fossum) Bohner

Ph.D.

Emily completed her Ph.D. in June 2009. She completed her B.S. with a dual degree in mechanical engineering and business administration from Michigan Tech in December 2002. She joined the Isp Lab research team in January of 2003 researching plasma diagnostics, non-neutral plasma confinement, and electron mobility in Hall thruster fields. Emily’s dissertation title is, Electron Transport in ExB Devices.

Jason D. Sommerville

Ph.D.

Jason Sommerville completed his Ph.D. in December 2008. He received his B.S. in Physics in 1998 from The Ohio State University. He joined the Isp Lab research team in August of 2003 to pursue his M.S. and Ph.D. Prior to his tenure at Michigan Tech, Jason was employed at National Instruments in Austin, Texas as a software developer. Jason’s dissertation title is Hall-Effect Thruster–Cathode Coupling: The Effect of Cathode Position and Magnetic Field Topology.

Dean R. Massey

Ph.D.

Dean Massey completed his Ph.D. in 2008. Massey completed his B.S. in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Physics at Michigan Technological University in 2003. Dean’s doctoral dissertation title is Development of a Direct Evaporation Bismuth Hall Thruster.

Alex W. Kieckhafer

Ph.D.

Alex Kieckhafer completed his Ph.D. in May of 2007. He began research at the Isp Lab in the summer of 2001 while pursuing his Ph.D., which focused on segmented anode thrusters. Alex graduated with a B.S. in Physics from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in the spring of 2001. Alex’s dissertation title is The effect of Segmented Anodes on the Performance and Plume of a Hall Thruster.

Isp Lab Alumni – M.S.

Michaël Juillard

M.S.

Michaël Juillard joined the group in 2017 as a 6-month foreign exchange master’s student from EPFL in Switzerland. The title of his thesis is: “Experimental Study of Porous Alumina Properties as an Electric Isolator for Hall Thruster Application.”

Amanda J. O’Toole

M.S.

Amanda graduated from UCLA with a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in 2012. She joined the Isp Lab in 2013, and received a M.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan Tech in 2015. Her work focused on porous ionic liquid ferrofluid electrospray emitters.

Stephan Den Hartog

M.S.

Stephan den Hartog joined the group in May 2015 as a foreign exchange student from The Netherlands. For six months he investigated ionic liquid ferrofluid electrospray arrays before returning to his home country where he received his M.S. degree in Nanomaterials.

Mary Farmer

M.S.

Mary Farmer obtained her M.S. degree from Michigan Tech in 2008. Mary’s research project was design and verification of an all-magnetic spacecraft attitude control system. Mary’s thesis title is Oculus Attitude Control System.

Satwik Deshmukh

M.S.

Satwik Deshmukh completed his M.S. degree at Michigan Tech in 2002. Satwik’s research was focused on understanding electrostatic force interactions between neighboring charged spacecraft. Satwik’s thesis title is A study of inter-spacecraft Coulomb forces and implications for formation flying.

Jer-Hong Chong

M.S.

Jer-Hong Chong received her M.S. degree in 2002. Jer-Hong investigated the dynamic motion response and stability of closely-spaced satellites in a plasma charging environment. Her thesis title is Dynamic behavior of spacecraft formation flying using Coulomb forces.

Isp Lab Alumni – Research Assistants

Aaron J. Wednzel

B.S.

Aaron Wendzel graduated with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering at Michigan Tech. He joined the lab in 2005 and was a prolific undergraduate assistant and researcher. Aaron’s research focuses were on systems integration of Hall thrusters and supporting technologies.