The AIS-ePPT1 Pulsed Plasma Thruster is the newest pulsed plasma thruster addition to the Applied Ion Systems low-cost, open-source thruster line. This system takes lessons learned from the original AIS-gPPT3-1C Integrated Propulsion Module and further expands its capabilities with massively increased fuel capacity, as well as improved ignition, performance, and ultimately lower cost and simpler manufacturing. The highly compact thruster is small enough for integration with PocketQubes, and can be implemented as a single thruster, cluster, or attitude control for Cubesats.

The thruster module features an incredibly compact form factor, with a starting PQ module board footprint of 45mm x 45mm. The thruster also features a spring loaded Teflon fuel block, with electrodes, igniter, and mounting embedded in an extremely low-cost, custom 3D printed housing using high durability, performance, high-temperature aerospace-grade Ultem 1010. The ePPT1 series consists of two versions – the ePPT1-A and ePPT1-B depending on space constraints and fuel requirements.

The primary integrated module is centered around a 1.6W Pico Electronics HV power module, allowing for a highly compact package compatible with PocketQube-class satellites. The basic PQ module can be used on Cubesats for attitude control, and for higher performance main propulsion, can be substituted with a higher power and higher capacity Cubesat power module. Interfacing is very easy, requiring only 5V, GND, and logic level trigger commands for ignition. The system also includes readouts for the primary and ignition banks for feedback and monitoring of the system during operation.

Due to it’s simplified and low-cost design, the ePPT1 series can be highly customized per customer requirements, ranging in size, power, fuel capacity, impulse-bit, and thrust based on mission specs and needs. The ePPT1 is currently under development, representing a new generation of truly affordable pulsed plasma thruster technology for any nanosatellite team.


  • Cost: $2k
  • Thruster Type: AIS-ePPTMicro Pulsed Plasma Thruster
  • Fuel: Teflon
  • Max Power Draw: 1.6W
  • Average Power Draw:  TBD
  • Primary Capacitor Bank: 0.1uF, 0.22uF, 0.47uF
  • Primary Bank Working Voltage: 1-1.5kV
  • Thruster Energy: 0.1J (ePPT1-A), 0.5J (ePPT1-B)
  • Ignition Voltage: 10kV
  • Pulse Repetition Rate: 3Hz (ePPT1-A), 0.5Hz (ePPT1-B)
  • Size: 45mm x 45mm x 25mm (ePPT1-A), 45mm x 45mm x 38mm (ePPT1-B)
  • Total Thruster Mass (Teflon): 57 grams (ePPT1-A)
  • Usable Propellant Mass (Teflon): TBD
  • Impulse Bit: TBD
  • Lifetime to Date: TBD
  • Total Impulse: TBD
  • Thrust: TBD
  • Vacuum Levels Tested: 1×10^-5 Torr
  • Test Readiness Level (TRL): 5
  • Status: ONGOING


AIS-ePPT1 Pulsed Plasma Thruster Gallery






Micro Propulsion Testing Chamber


  • 02/25/2020 – AIS-ePPT1 concept design CAD render revealed
  • 02/26/2020 – Cross sectional view of the ePPT1 thruster assembly revealed
  • 07/11/2020 – V1 PCB design completed and revealed
  • 07/24/2020 – V1 boards arrived from OSHPark
  • 07/31/2020 – 3D printed Utem 1010 thruster housings arrived
  • 09/04/2020 – 1.5kv Pico supply arrived
  • 09/10/2020 – Preliminary assembly of the ePPT1
  • 09/11/2020 – Final assembly of the AIS-ePPT1 V1 Version A thruster
  • 09/13/2020 – First ignition test of the AIS-ePPT1 V1 thruster
  • 09/14/2020 – Video released of the first ignition test
  • Cost: $2k
  • Satellite Class: Nanosatellites (PocketQubes and Cubesats)
  • Fuel: Teflon
  • Status: Ongoing