The AIS-gPPT3-1C Single-Channel Gridded Pulsed Plasma Thruster represents the latest iteration of sub-joule micro-PPTs at Applied Ion Systems. This thruster radically diverges from conventional and standard pulsed plasma thrusters, with a specific emphasis on scaling and miniaturization, geared towards PocketQube-class satellites. The gPPT line thrusters from Applied Ion Systems features an unconventional flat stacked-plate geometry, aiming to significantly reduce the space required for a pulsed plasma thruster, and offers a new solution for a new class of ultra-low power, low-cost sub-Joule PPTs. The thruster utilizes a single channel to better qualify thruster characteristics in the smallest-possible form factor, allowing for rapid prototyping and changing of thruster geometries for scaling to larger clusters for increased overall propulsion lifetime. The thruster is made with low cost and easy to find materials such as oxygen-free copper plate, Teflon sheet, and PEEK hardware.

The AIS-gPPT3-1C features the same ignition electrode topology as its predecessor, the AIS-gPPT2-1C, while utilizing a reduced diameter fuel bore to increase fuel lifetime. The thruster also features a new experimental concept to the gPPT series thrusters by employing an embedded permanent-magnet based magnetic nozzle to reduce plasma plume divergence and increase thrust performance. The thruster also utilizes tapped holes on the front anode plate, reducing the total hardware needed and streamlining assembly.


  • Thruster Type: Sub-Joule Micro Pulsed Plasma Thruster
  • Fuel: Teflon
  • Configuration: Flat Stacked Plate with Single Thruster Channel
  • Electrode Material: Oxygen-Free Copper
  • Enhancements: Embedded Permanent Magnet Nozzle
  • Primary Working Voltage: 1.3-3.5 kV
  • Tested Ignition Voltage: –10 kV
  • TRL: 6
  • Status: ONGOING



AIS-gPPT3-1C Single-Channel Gridded Pulsed Plasma Thruster Gallery


Micro Propulsion Testing Chamber


  • 06/24/2019 – Official CAD concept model for the AIS-gPPT3-1C Single-Channel Gridded Pulsed Plasma Thruster revealed on social media.
  • 06/25/2019 – Cross-sectional CAD view of thruster officially revealed on social media, showing improved geometry for lifetime as well as new permanent magnet based magnetic nozzle insert.
  • 06/27/2019 – PEEK and Bismuth-Tin fuel variations of the thruster officially announced.
  • 07/01/2019 – AIS-gPPT3-1C-P PEEK fueled thruster concept CAD model render officially revealed.
  • 07/02/2019 – AIS-gPPT3-1C-BT Bismuth-Tin fueled thruster cross-sectional view officially released.
  • 07/03/2019 – AIS-gPPT3-1C-BT Bismuth-Tin fueled thruster concept CAD model render officially released.
  • 07/04/2019 – AIS-gPPT3-1C-U Ultem fueled thruster concept CAD model render officially released.
  • 07/05/2019 – AIS-gPPT3-1C full thruster line side-by-side with Teflon, Ultem, PEEK, and Bismuth-Tin CAD model render revealed.
  • 07/08/2019 – Manufacturing of the AIS-gPPT3-1C series thrusters officially started.
  • 07/23/2019 – Teflon, Ultem, and PEEK plates completed.
  • 08/27/2019 – Copper anode, igniter, and cathode plates completed.
  • 08/28/2019 – Initial assembly of the AIS-gPPT3-1C-T Teflon fueled, AIS-gPPT3-1C-U Ultem fueled, and AIS-gPPT3-1C-P PEEK fueled thrusters.
  • 09/06/2019 – AIS-gPPT3-1C-T passed first controlled ignition test at high vacuum, validating the current iteration design.
  • Thruster Type: Sub-joule Micro PPT
  • Fuel: Teflon
  • Materials Used: OF Copper, Teflon, PEEK,
  • Project Status: Ongoing