Space Propulsion & Advanced Concepts Engineering Laboratory

William E. Boeing Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics

013 Aerospace and Energetics Research Building

University of Washington

Seattle, WA 98195



Justin Little

Assistant Professor

PhD, Princeton University

MA, Princeton University

BS, University of California, Irvine

Justin is the founder and director of the UW SPACE Lab. His research methods combine reduced-order theoretical modeling and innovative experiment design to explore the plasma physics fundamental to electric thrusters. The ultimate goal of his research is to improve the efficiency and capabilities of next-generation electric propulsion systems.

Curtis Promislow

PhD Student

MS, North Carolina State University

BS, North Carolina State University


Curtis is working on the High Pulse Rate planar Pulsed Inductive Thruster project, which investigates the effects of high pulse rate operation on the design, physics, and performance of planar pulsed inductive thrusters. His research combines power electronics and circuit design, plasma physics, and advanced plasma diagnostics. As part of this project, Curtis collaborates closely with the Propulsion Research and Development Laboratory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

Sungyoung Ha

MS Student

BS, Seoul National University

Sungyoung's research focuses on understanding the species distributions in molecular plasma, and improving diagnostic methods for such analysis. He hopes to combine this with his background in CubeSATs to develop novel space systems. His ultimate goal is to expand the borders of humanity and realize space colonization. 

Anna Sheppard

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

PhD Student

MS, University of Washington

BS, University of Michigan

Anna is researching electric propulsion concepts that run on molecular propellants. She is presently designing an electrodeless thruster that can operate using a variety of complex propellants, including water, air, or mono-propellants. Using in-situ resource utilization, future NASA missions may eventually exploit this technology for planetary exploration.

Peter Thoreau

PhD Student

MSc, International Space University

BE, University of Queensland

BS, University of Queensland

Peter’s research on high power electric propulsion systems covers the intersection of space engineering and plasma physics. His previous experience in the use of disruptive technologies to rapidly developed space hardware has resulted in several launched payloads to the ISS and LEO. Having previously researched Pulsed Plasma Thrusters for CubeSats, his switch to high powered systems aims to advance the mid-term performance of Hall thrusters, reducing mass and increasing efficiency. 

Wesley Jackson

MS Student

BS, US Air Force Academy

Wes is a self-proclaimed space nerd whose hobbies include hiking and astrophotography. Born in Texas, he is now a 2nd Lieutenant with the Air Force and is pursuing his Master’s Degree at the University of Washington with a focus on plasma-based space propulsion and research. Wes is excited about the recent increased interest in space exploration, and he ultimately wants to pursue his childhood dream of exploring the stars.

Charles Kelly


PhD Student

MS, University of Washington
BS, Princeton University

Charlie researches plasma physics and deep-space mission design with Magnetoshell Aerocapture, a technology with applications from getting humans on Mars to sending probes to Neptune. His work aims to develop both an analytic model and an experimental investigation informing system design of the device for these mission classes.

Arvindh Sharma

PhD Student

MS, University of Cincinnati
BE, Anna University


Arvindh is working on characterizing the evolution of dynamic structures in a Pulsed Inductive Thruster plasma. He comes from a background in fluids and combustion research and plans to apply image processing techniques to the study of plasma physics. His goal is to contribute to the development of space propulsion systems for long-term space exploration.

Jonah Taylor

MS Student

BS, Occidental College

Jonah’s research will focus on refurbishing the thermal vacuum chamber located within the SPACE Lab. This chamber will be used to test the lab’s thrusters in the various thermal environments found in space. Jonah will also be working on the thermal modeling of the low power Hall thruster that is currently being developed by the lab.


Nadiah Jenkins, MS

Project Engineer, Aerojet Rocketdyne

Diego Mejia Montano, MS

Propulsion Engineer, Blue Origin