Faculty Advisor

Gatsonis, Nikolaos A.


This project presents the conceptual design of a micro-Pulsed Plasma Thruster (microPPT) and a propulsion module consisting of eight micro-PPTs for applications on a three-unit Cube Satellite (3U CubeSat). The computer aided mechanical design of the micro-PPT, the propulsion module and its integration in the 1U are presented. Material selection identifies Torlon 4203 for housing and Tungsten-plated copper for electrodes. Finite element stress analysis shows that the micro-PPT will sustain expected launch loads. The electric circuit for the main and initial discharge are designed and simulated for power and voltage levels expected in a 3U Cubesat. Finite element thermal analysis provides estimates of the temperature distribution in the micro-PPT and module for a typical discharge.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

March 2014


Aerospace Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering