Masters Theses

Keywords and Phrases

Digital Control; Electrospray Thrusters; High Gain dc-dc Conversion; High Voltage PCB Manufacturing; Satellite Propulsion; Spacecraft Charging


"Electrospray technology provides a way to ionize specialized liquids by applying high voltages across a sharp porous tip and a metallic mesh. This technology is widely used in the field of mass spectroscopy for generating ions for testing purposes. The dawn of nano-satellites posed new challenges in the miniaturization of many conventional satellite sub-systems. One significant challenge faced in such a process was the miniaturization of the propulsion system. Electrosprays have started to find their application in the field of Aerospace Engineering and now are formally known as Electrospray Thrusters. These thrusters provide high specific impulse and are attractive substitutes to conventional gas propelled thrusters as they can be scaled down in size and can also provide extended mission times. Some of the new challenges faced in such applications are the generation of high voltages from a low voltage onboard battery, grounding, spacecraft charging, clearance, and reliability issues for long term usage.

In this work, a complete design process is developed for the realization of such high voltages suitable for interfacing with an electrospray thruster. Simulation models for a new type of converter are assessed, and its feasibility is discussed. A hardware prototype is implemented, and the practical results are assessed.

An analysis of the converter is presented, and the semiconductor and passive components are selected. Magnetic components are designed based on the analysis. Parallels are drawn between the theoretical and prototype model of the concept converter.

Finally, the firmware of the converter is explained, and the communication protocol of the PPU is delineated. As the boards designed for the converter have to sustain high voltages and reliably operate in unfavorable environments, special PCB layout considerations must be used, which also forces a designer to look for various other materials for the PCB fabrication"--Abstract, page iv.


Kimball, Jonathan W.

Committee Member(s)

Ferdowsi, Mehdi
Pernicka, Henry J.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Electrical Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2020

Journal article titles appearing in thesis/dissertation

  • Dynamic characterization and closed-loop voltage mode control of power processing units for electrically propelled satellites


xv, 93 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographic references.


© 2020 Kartikeya Jayadurga Prasad Veeramraju, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 11695

Electronic OCLC #