Michigan Advanced In-Space propulsion Engineers (MAISE)

MAISE is a student group partnering undergraduates from the College of Engineering with graduate students from PEPL, established in 2017. Together they assemble, operate, and present various electric propulsion technologies to the local community, with specific emphasis on middle and high school students. Previously, they have built up the infrastructure to run the PEPL-70 Hall thruster, the first of its kind designed at PEPL. Currently, they have two primary engineering projects. The first is to continue improvements on the PEPL-70 demonstration by incorporating various forms of plasma diagnostics. The second is to develop a pulsed plasma thruster and incorporate it into a facility of its own to use in demonstrations.​

If you have an outreach opportunity you’d like MAISE to participate in, please contact mgallen@umich.edu or wjhurley@umich.edu.

Hall Thruster Team

Members: Andrew Saladino, William Hurley, Madison Allen

The Hall thruster team is continuing to improve the existing demonstration. The first of these projects is adding a down converter to the discharge current signal, allowing the audience to hear the oscillations of the thruster. The second involves adding diagnostics into the chamber to better understand operating conditions. Third, they are implementing a LabView interface to facilitate control of the thruster and allow audience members to interface with it directly. All of these projects are increasing audience engagement with the demonstration.

Pulsed Plasma Thruster Team

Members: Ari Eckhaus, William Hurley, Madison Allen

The pulsed plasma thruster team is developing a new demonstration unit. They are currently in the design phase, where they are investigating mechanical and electrical assemblies. The PPT will perform on a solid propellant and will operate in a smaller facility, allowing easy transport.


The Michigan Institute for Plasma Science and Engineering (MIPSE) is a community of faculty, staff and students at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University whose research and education programs are devoted to the advancement of the science and technology of plasmas. The breadth of research is impressive – from laser produced plasmas for particle acceleration to plasmas in the earth’s magnetosphere. We take pride in the excellence of the research and in the resulting societal benefits.

How PEPL is involved:
Many PEPL students have benefited from the MIPSE graduate fellowship, and PEPL routinely participates in the Graduate Student Symposium, as far back as the first symposium.
How to get involved:
MIPSE offers many opportunities to learn more about plasma physics and support research. It regularly conducts outreach activities, as well as hosting a seminar series every semester. Additionally, the MIPSE Graduate Student Symposium is a great opportunity to be exposed to the wide variety of plasma physics research conducted at several Michigan universities. Students can apply for a MIPSE fellowship that complements the Graduate Certificate in Plasma Science and Engineering.

Rocket Scientist for a Half-Day

PEPL has the unique facilities and cutting edge research that is ideal for interesting elementary and middle school students in a future STEM career. PEPL participates in Rocket Scientist for a Half-Day to give this exposure to local students.

How PEPL is involved:
Every summer, PEPL gives a laboratory tour and demonstrations for local elementary school students. Demonstrations include exposing marshmallows to a vacuum environment and performing Galileo’s Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment.
How to get involved:
Please contact us if you are interested in participating in this event, as a parent, teacher, or school administrator.