Congratulations to NASA NSTRF Fellowships winners, Sarah Cusson and Marcel Georgin. Both Sarah and Marcel are graduate students conducting research in Dr. Alec Gallimore’s Plasmadynamics & Electric Proulsion Laboratory at the University of Michigan. Dr. Gallimore is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education.
Sarah graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Astronautical Engineering in 2014. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan. During her undergraduate studies, her research focused on solid propulsion for hypersonic sounding rockets as well as the development of a methane liquid rocket engine. Her current research interests lie in advanced electric propulsion systems.
The NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship was granted for the development and testing of a high-power nested-channel magnetically shielded Hall thruster. Sarah’s research will mitigate the erosion of the discharge channel, which is the current failure mechanism of Hall thrusters. To date, no nested-channel Hall thruster has been magnetically shielded. The development of this thruster is a critical step forward in the field of electric propulsion and in NASA’s plan to leverage high-power Hall thrusters on a variety of missions, such as a manned mission to Mars.
Marcel completed his undergraduate degree in physics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. As an undergrad, his research experience included working with quantum dots, gamma ray detection, Mössbauer spectroscopy, simulation of magnetic fields in Hall Thrusters, and the development of teraHertz photonic components. His current research interests lie in the physics of advanced propulsion systems.
Marcel’s proposal for the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship is generally about making time resolved measurements of ion velocities in Hall Effect thrusters using a laser diagnostic called time-resolved laser induced fluorescence. In particular, I’m interested in making measurements of how the velocity distribution of ions changes in time near the cathode, to determine how oscillation in the plasma effect the erosion of the thruster.