History

Overview

The Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory (EPPDyL) was founded in 1962 by Robert G. Jahn, Professor of Aerospace Sciences at Princeton University. It is presently directed by Prof. Edgar Choueiri. EPPDyL has been at the forefront of research in the physics and application of plasma thrusters for spacecraft propulsion for more than five decades and has been involved in active space experiments. A plasma thruster is an electric rocket that accelerates a plasma to velocities of tens of kilometers per second making it a propulsion option that is well suited for energetic deep-space missions as well as attitude control and orbit raising for near-Earth spacecraft. Research activities encompass performance studies of plasma thrusters, basic research in plasma problems relevant to plasma acceleration and development of probe and optical diagnostics.

The activities also include some non-propulsive topics in plasma dynamics like space plasma physics problems and active experiments in space. The laboratory facilities include an array of large vacuum chambers for operating pulsed and steady-state thrusters under realistic space conditions, specialized optical and probe diagnostics, a broad spectrum of high speed digital data acquisition instruments and computers.

Recorded History