Graduate research assistants:
Isp Lab Alumni:
Professor Lyon B. King joined Michigan Tech's faculty in the fall of 2000. Dr. King earned his PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1998 and, resulting from his doctoral research, shared the AIAA Outstanding Paper in Electric Space Propulsion in 1999 with co-author, Dr. Alec Gallimore, for studies of particle transport in Hall Thrusters.
King is an experimentalist with expertise in non-neutral plasmas, charged particle traps and electric space propulsion systems. King was an employee of the NASA-Johnson Space Center and earned a National Research Council (NRC) appointment for postdoctoral research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). During his two-year NRC tenure, King studied the dynamics of trapped charged particles in the Ion Storage Group of the NIST Time and Frequency Division. While at NIST, King's experiments included laser cooling of ions confined in a crossed field Penning trap, phase studies of non-neutral plasmas, and positrons.
King is a Fellow of the NASA Institute for Advanced
Concepts (NIAC) and is a member of the NASA Nuclear Space Propulsion
Technology Assessment Group. King is a recipient of the National Science
Foundation Faculty Early Career Award as well as the Presidential Early
Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE - DoD nomination).
Kurt J. Terhune, NASA STR Fellow, PhD Candidate
Kurt Terhune received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
in May 2010. As an undergraduate he was involved in Michigan Tech’s Aerospace Enterprise where
he served as the project manager for the HAARP glider and Photogrammetry Small UAV project teams.
He began his tenure in the Isp lab in the fall of 2010, and received his Masters of Science in
Mechanical Engineering in May 2013. He is a recipient of the 2013 NASA Space Technology Research
Fellowship for his proposed research in in-situ visualization of electrosprays. His research
interests include ionic liquid and ionic liquid ferrofluid electrospray thrusters and electron microscopy.
Brandon A. Jackson, PhD Candidate
Brandon Jackson completed his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the Milwaukee School
of Engineering prior to joining the lab in 2012. As an undergrad, Brandon was a participant in the Wisconsin
Space Grant Collegiate Rocket Design competition as well as serving Research Assistant with the NASA
Propulsion Academy. In addition to working in the ISP lab, he is also serving as the head teaching assistant
for MTU Energy Laboratory.
Nathan W. Ford, PhD Pre-Candidate
Nathan Ford received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor
in Aerospace Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 2015. As an undergrad,
Nathan was involved with the Michigan Tech Aerospace Enterprise, and served as the Lead Systems
Engineer for the Oculus-ASR. He joined the ISP Lab in the summer of 2015. He also serves at the
lead TA for MEP-4.
Marty Toth joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in the winter of 2006 as the in-house master machinst for the department. He has dedicated countless hours to Isp Lab thrusters, test beds and equipment. Toth is credited with the fabrication of two laboratory Hall thrusters, including a 1.5 kW Xenon thruster and a prototype of a Bismuth thruster, a 24" diameter electron trapping apparatus and a number of Lab6 laboratory cathodes, including a cathode dedicated for use with bismuth propellant.
Isp Lab Alumni:
Mark Hopkins completed his doctoral work in 2014. He graduated from Michigan Tech in the summer of 2010 with an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering. During his undergraduate career, Mark was involved in both the Isp lab and the Aerospace Enterprise at Michigan Tech. As a member of the Aerospace Enterprise, Mark worked on designing and testing reaction wheels for the Oculus and Oculus-ASR nanosatellites. Mark’s work in the Isp lab started in 2008. His main research interests are in condensable propellant Hall-effect Thrusters and plume diagnostics.(view Hopkins's PhD Dissertation)
EJ Meyer completed his Ph.D. in December 2014. He joined the lab in January 2010. He graduated from Michigan Tech with undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. As an undergraduate, he was involved with the Aerospace Enterprise participating in University Nanosatellite 3, 5 and 6. He also took part in Microgravity University and was able to conduct an experiment on NASA's "weightless wonder". Meyer's research interests include sheath modeling, ionic liquid ferrofluids, and electrospray thrusters. (view Meyer's PhD Dissertation)
Carrie (Niemela) Hill completed her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech in December 2005. She started working in the Isp Lab as an undergraduate research assistant in the spring of 2005 focusing on electric and magnetic field analysis and particle trajectories. In the spring of 2006, Niemela was an intern at the Air Force Research Lab at Edwards Air Force Base focusing on modeling and simulation of the plume environment of a Hall thruster. Niemela began her graduate career in the Isp Lab in the fall of 2006, returning to AFRL for two additional internships. She returned to AFRL full-time in late 2009 to complete her doctoral research on translation studies for an annular field reversed configuration experiment. Hill completed her doctoral degree in December 2012. Her current research interests include field reversed configuration plasmas, pulsed inductive plasmoid accelerators, and pulsed plasma diagnostics. (view Hill's PhD Dissertation)
Rob Washeleski completed his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Michigan Technological University in 2006. As an undergraduate Washeleski was involved with MTU's Aerospace Enterprise, whose main purpose was to design a satellite for the Nanosat-3 competition. Washeleski joined the Isp Lab research team in August of 2006 as a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. His current research interests include laser plasma diagnostics, Zinc and Magnesium Hall thrusters, and dual ion/electron sources using quenched indium liquid metal ion sources. (view Washeleski's PhD Dissertation)
Jerry Ross completed a B.S. in Physics, a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Theater at Alma College (Mich.) in the Spring of 2003. Jerry began his graduate work at Michigan Tech in the physics department for the 2003-04 school year and joined the Isp Lab team in January of 2004. As of Fall 2004 Ross is now a full time PhD candidate in the Mechanical Engineering department and Isp Lab researcher. His current research interests include low voltage Hall thrusters. (view Ross' PhD Dissertation)
Jason Makela earned his Ph.D. in the spring of 2010. He completed his B.S. In Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Technological University in 2004. As an undergraduate Makela was involved with MTU's Aerospace Enterprise whose main purpose was to design a satellite, HuskySat, for the Nanosat-3 competition. He was on the KC-135 team that conducted a modal analysis of the HuskySat boom while in zero gravity on NASA's KC-135. Makela joined the Isp Lab research team in May 2004 as a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. His research interests during graduate school included development of a zinc and magnesium Hall-effect thruster, cathode construction using condensible propellants, and dual ion/electron sources using quenched indium liquid metal ion sources. (view Makela's PhD Dissertation)
Emily C. Fossum, PhD
Emily Fossum graduated with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech in June 2009. Fossum completed her B.S. with a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration from Michigan Tech in December of 2002. She joined the Isp Lab research team for the first time as an undergraduate in the summer of 2001 focusing on quadrupole mass spectrometry. She joined the research team again in January of 2003 researching plasma diagnostics, non-neutral plasma confinement, and electron mobility in Hall thruster fields. (view Fossum's PhD Dissertation)
Jason Sommerville graduated with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech in December 2008. Sommerville graduated from Ohio State University with a B.S. in Physics in 1998. During his time at Ohio State he researched properties of magnetic thin films, his work culminating in an undergraduate honors thesis. Following his graduation Sommerville was employed at National Instruments in Austin, Tex. During his tenure there, he served one year in the technical support and customer education department and four years as a software developer working with LabView and other NI products. Jason joined the ISP Lab research team in August of 2003 to pursue his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech. (view Sommerville's PhD Dissertation) (view Sommerville's Masters Thesis)
Dean Massey graduated with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech in 2008. Massey completed his B.S. n Electrical Engineering with a minor in Physics at Michigan Technological University in 2003. Massey joined the staff at ElectroDynamics Applications, Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the spring of 2008 while completing work for his PhD at Michigan Tech. His current research interests include industrial plasma physics and advanced plasma propulsion. (view Massey's PhD Dissertation)
Alex Kieckhafer graduated with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech in May of 2007. He began research at the Isp Lab in the summer of 2001 while pursuing his PhD, focusing on segmented anode thrusters. Kieckhafer was awarded the Winnikow fellowship for the 2002 calendar year and was awarded a Michigan Space Grant Consortium fellowship in the summer of 2002. Kieckhafer graduated with a B.S. in Physics from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in the spring of 2001. (view Kieckhafer's PhD Dissertation)
Amanda O'Toole received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of
California, Los Angeles. During undergrad, she interned at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech,
working with robotics prototype testing and knife-edge tiltmeter development. Her studies in the
Ion Space Propulsion lab focused on ionic liquid ferrofluid electrosprays.
Aaron Wendzel graduated with a B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering at Michigan Tech. He officially joined the lab in 2006 but has been participating in the lab activities since the fall of 2005. Wendzels research focuses are on systems integration of Hall thrusters and supporting technologies.
Brian Sikkema graduated with a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech with an Aerospace Studies minor in May of 2006. He officially joined the Isp Lab research team in the fall of 2002 but has been involved with the lab unofficially since his first semester at Michigan Tech in the fall of 2001. Sikkema's research efforts focused on low power Hall thruster development.