Development and testing of propulsion systems for small satellite platforms

This project focuses on the downscaling of thrusters and investigates innovative propulsion prototypes for application on small satellite platforms, a subject of ongoing research within the Surrey Space Centre. 

Start date
1 October 2019
3 years
Application deadline
Funding source
University of Surrey
Funding information

All university fees will be covered for UK/EU citizens with a base stipend of approximately £15,000 per annum.


The Surrey Space Centre, part of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, is a world-class institution for space engineering research with a growing interest in propulsion for the small satellite industry.

The successful candidate will join the plasma dynamics and propulsion group, and be conducting hands-on laboratory investigations on innovative propulsion prototypes (chemical or electric propulsion).

In particular, the PhD project involves the following activities:

  • Design and development of novel propulsion concepts for small satellite platforms
  • Design and implementation of testbeds for the development of propulsion systems
  • Performance characterisation of propulsion devices
  • Experimental investigations combined with analytical modeling for characterising the underlying physics of the propulsion devices.

For informal discussions, please contact Dr Andrea Lucca Fabris.

Eligibility criteria

Open to UK and EU students only.

First class degree in engineering, physics or a closely related physical science.

IELTS requirements: overall IELTS score of 6.5 with 6.0 in each component.

How to apply

Apply online via the Space Engineering PhD programme page.

A later start / finish date can be discussed.

Space Engineering PhD

Application deadline

Contact details

Andrea Lucca Fabris
27 BA 01
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686444

Research group: Surrey Space Centre, Plasma Dynamics and Propulsion Group

This PhD project may benefit from collaborations with the major UK space industries and space agencies.


Studentships at Surrey

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