Expert Details

Expert in Space Propulsion

Expert ID: 735459 Massachusetts, USA

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Expert is the Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Director of the Space Propulsion Laboratory. His research features the development of highly efficient and compact ion thrusters for applications in space systems, including pico- and nano-satellites. His main interests are plasma physics, space propulsion, ion beam physics, small satellites and nanotechnology. He received the Young Investigator Program Award from the US Air Force for his work on micro-propulsion and the “Future-Mind” award from Quo Science Magazine and the Discovery Channel. Expert's research has been sponsored by NASA, DARPA, AFOSR, AFRL, NSF and other government and private sources. He has received the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award for his contributions to the research experience of undergraduate students. Expert has authored over 10 patents and 100 conference and journal publications. He teaches subjects in space and rocket propulsion, fluid mechanics and plasma physics. Expert is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and member of the American Physical Society (APS) and of the Electric Rocket Propulsion Society (ERPS). He was awarded the AIAA’s Technical Achievement Award for his contributions to ion electrospray propulsion and has served as a member on several study committees of the National Research Council at the National Academies, including the Asteroid Threat Mitigation, NASA Technology Roadmaps and Achieving Scientific Goals with CubeSats. Principal Fields of Interest: Space Propulsion; Micropropulsion; Physics Applied to Aerospace; MEMS; Space Systems, Focused Ion Beams.

Electric propulsion for very small satellites such as CubeSats, will help scientists and engineers to design and implement inexpensive and highly capable spacecraft.

My group in the Space Propulsion Laboratory at a prestigious technical university is working on the development of Electrospray Propulsion Systems based on MEMS technologies and processes.

The first goal is to create engines that are impressively compact and can work with high specific impulse and efficiency; to understand the fundamental physics behind their operation and establish their ultimate practical limits.

The second and more interesting goal is, one day, to have these thrusters push a little satellite designed by students all the way from earth orbit to an exciting destination in deep space, like an asteroid, a moon or a planet.


Year Degree Subject Institution
Year: 2003 Degree: PhD Subject: Space Propulsion Institution: MIT
Year: 1998 Degree: SM Subject: Space Propulsion Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Year: 1996 Degree: MSc Subject: Physics Institution: Centro de Investigacion del IPN (Mexico)
Year: 1993 Degree: Ing. Fis. Ind. Subject: Institution: Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey (Mexico)

Work History

Years Employer Title Department Responsibilities
Years: 2006 to Present Employer: Undisclosed Title: Professor Department: AeroAstro Responsibilities: Director, Space Propulsion Laboratory
Years: 1999 to 1998 Employer: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Title: Summer Associate Department: Responsibilities: Summer Associate
Years: 1994 to 1996 Employer: Fermi National Accelerator Lab Title: Visiting Scientist Department: Responsibilities: Visiting Scientist.

Career Accomplishments

Associations / Societies
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow
American Physical Society (APS) Member, 9/05 - present
Professional Appointments
Posdoctoral Associate, SPL Aero/Astro, Jan. 2003- Dec. 2004
Research Scientist, SPL Aero/Astro, Jan. 2005- Aug. 2006
C.S. Draper Career Dev. Assistant Professor, Sept. 2006- June 2009
H.N. Slater Career Dev. Assistant Professor, July 2009- June 2010
H.N. Slater Career Dev. Associate Professor, July 2010- June 2011
Associate Professor, July 2011- Dec 2017
R.L. Bisplinghoff Associate Professor, Jan. 2017- June 2017
M. Aleman-Velasco Professor , July 2017- present

Manager, Space Propulsion Laboratory (Dept.) Aug. 1999- June 2007
Mentor, MIT Summer Research Program (Inst.) June 2005- present
Freshman Advisor (Inst.) Sept. 2006- present
Member, Aero/Astro Graduate Committee (Dept.) Sept. 2007- Sept. 2013
Undergraduate Admission Folders Reader (Inst.) Jan. 2009- Jan. 2009
Technical Reviewer, MISTI Global Funds (Inst.) Oct. 2009- Oct. 2009
Faculty Mentor, MAES (Inst.) Jan. 2009- Jan. 2010
Member, NASA Engagement Group (Inst.) Jan. 2010- present
Faculty Mentor, Rocket Team (Dept.) July 2010- present
Member, Department Head Search Committee (Inst.) Feb. 2011- May 2011
Employee Health and Safety Officer (Dept.) Sept. 2011- present
Undergraduate Flexible Degree Advisor (Dept.) Oct. 2011 present
Member, Graduate Admissions Committee (Dept.) Nov. 2011 present
Chair, Graduate Committee (Dept.) Sept. 2013 Sept. 2016
Equipment Acquisition MTL & MIT.nano (Inst.) Aug. 2014- present
Member, Faculty Search Committee (Dept.) Nov. 2014- March 2015
Director, Space Propulsion Laboratory May 2013- present
Faculty Director, MIT-Mexico (Inst.) July 2015- present
J-WEL Higher Education Advisory Group Aug. 2017- present
Campaign for a Better World (speaker in Mexico City/Houston) 2017
Vehicles Sector Head Nov. 2018- present
Awards / Recognition
Karl Chang Innovation Fund Award
AFOSR Young Investigator Program Award
Outstanding Faculty UROP Mentor Award (2 years)
Best Poster Award MNE2010
Quo+Discovery Channel Future Mind Award
AIAA Electric Propulsion Committee Technical Achievement Award
AIAA Outstanding Student Advisor Award
Publications and Patents Summary
Patents and Patent Applications Pending: 12
Major New Products, Processes, Designs, or Systems: 3
Papers in Referred Journals: 35
Proceedings in Refereed Conferences: 67
Other Major Publications: 5
Internal Memorandum and Progress Reports: 5
Invited Lectures: 44

Peer reviewer in:
Journal of Propulsion and Power
Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science
Physical Review E
Journal of the American Chemical Society
Microfluidics and Nanofluidics
Physical Review Letters
Applied Physics Letters
Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical
Journal of Small Satellites
Journal of Aerosol Science
American Chemical Society Books
Review of Scientific Instruments
Chemical Engineering Science
Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems (JMEMS)
Journal of The American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
ACS Earth and Space Chemistry

Additional Experience

Other Relevant Experience
Consulting Record total: 8

Professional Experience Cont.:
Session Chair, 3rd MIT-AFOSR Electrospray Workshop
Session Chair, AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference
NASA Postdoc Program Reviewer
Session Chair, MS8 Molten Salts Symposium
Committee to Review Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard
National Research Council study on Asteroid Impact Mitigation.
Committee member
AIAA J. Prop. Power Editor-in-Chief Search Committee
Co-chair, Annual MIT-LL Workshop on Small Satellite
Technology Development and Applications
Proposal Reviewer, Swiss National Science Foundation
Technical Area Editor, Journal of Small Satellites
National Research Council study to Review NASA’s
Technology Roadmaps. Committee member.
Member, AIAA Electric Propulsion Technical Committee
Conference Chair, Electric Propulsion AIAA/JPC 2013
Proposal Reviewer, German Research Foundation
TCM (Time Capsule to Mars) technical advisor
National Research Council Committee on Achieving
Science Goals with CubeSats.

Fields of Expertise

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