PhD Studentship: Sub-Newton hydrogen peroxide thruster for spacecraft propulsion

United Kingdom
May 09, 2016
May 04, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

PhD Studentship: Sub-Newton hydrogen peroxide thruster for spacecraft propulsion

Astronautics Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:   Thursday 04 May 2017
Reference:  730116AK
Project Reference: AACE-ASTRO-107
Project Theme:  Transportation, Fluid Dynamics.

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:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 3881.

To apply please use the following link and select Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.