Faculty Advisor

Cobb, Eben C.


The VASIMR engine, developed by Ad Astra Rocket Company is an advanced plasma propulsion technology which will be attached to the International Space Station in 2014 to serve as the main thrust device. The first design for this structure was created, including all of its sub components, which have been tested to support launch and operation forces using Finite Element Analysis. The structure fits inside the Taurus II rocket, and extends in space once attached to the ISS. In addition, a 1/10th scale model of the assembly was constructed for exhibition in the lab and various thermal and structural tests were performed on site to aid in the development of the VASIMR engine. A guide to migrating thermal data for structural testing in Pro Engineer was developed as well.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

March 2011


Mechanical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering