Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Kristina M. Lemmer

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Hudson

Third Advisor

Dr. J.P. Sheehan


Cube sat, electric propulsion, plasma, RF Ion Thruster, magnetic field modeling

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The development of new primary propulsion systems for CubeSats with the capability to complete orbital maneuvers has become a principal focus of many within the CubeSat community. One such propulsion device is the 1 cm Busek RF Ion Thruster (BIT-1). For systems such as the BIT-1 to become mission ready and implementable on spacecraft, preliminary testing must be completed to understand how these propulsion devices will perform when placed onboard. The research and testing performed and presented was used to understand how the BIT-1 propulsion device and others like it will interact with small spacecraft. This was accomplished by means of plume analysis in laboratory testing and magnetic field modeling.