Chair's Distinguished Lecture: A Brief History of Electric Propulsion Research at Michigan
Dean Alec Gallimore
Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering,
Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering,
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor,
Michigan Engineering has been at the forefront of spacecraft Electric Propulsion (EP) research and development for nearly three decades. Our graduates have populated academia, industry and government labs as EP specialists and leaders. Our work has had a major impact on the field. For example, the Hall thruster that will be used on NASA's Lunar Gateway space station shares its design heritage with thrusters developed at the University of Michigan in partnership with NASA.
I will provide a brief history of EP research at the University of Michigan. While Michigan has played a leading role in developing several types of EP systems, my talk will focus on how we established the University as the academic focal point of Hall thruster research, and walk us through the many twists and turns that got us to where we are today!
About the speaker...
Dr. Alec D. Gallimore is the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dean Gallimore is a rocket scientist, and in 2019 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering--among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. He earned a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer (RPI), and MA and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering with a focus on plasma physics from Princeton. He is the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, and founder and co-director of the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (PEPL). He is also a member of the Applied Physics faculty. He is co-founder of ElectroDynamic Applications, Inc. (EDA), a high-tech aerospace firm in Ann Arbor, specializing in plasma device engineering.