Within the framework of the LOEWE-RITSAT project, the development of radio-frequency (RF) ion thrusters for space applications has been funded in the period from 2012 to 2015 by the state of Hesse. This project allowed THM University of Applied Sciences to establish the Space Electronics research group which engages in research and development in the area of electrical space propulsion systems.
The working group belongs to the joint focus on spaceflight of the JLU and the THM. As part of the further development and establishment of research structures, it was funded as a junior research group by the State of Hesse from the Innovation and Structural Development Budget 2016 to 2020 of the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts (HMWK).
Since 2012, THM – represented by the Electrical Engineering and Information Technology department – in collaboration with University of Giessen – represented by the Institute of Experimental Physics I. – is involved in the development and optimization of RF ion thrusters. This particular thruster technology has an almost 60-year old tradition closely linked to Giessen and has its origins in Prof. Horst Löb’s pioneer work from the 1960s. Besides this, RF ion thrusters have already been utilized for commercial satellites. Nowadays, further developments are worked on in close collaboration with industrial partners, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the European Space Agency (ESA), which also act as supervisors for space testing.
The RITSAT-project's research is the cornerstone of an internationally competitive center for electrical space propulsion in Giessen, unifying education, training, research, development and marketing under one roof. For this purpose, the implementation of the new interdisciplinary "Physics and Technology for Space Applications" Bachelor’s (B. Sc.) and Master’s program (M. Sc.), which was introduced in WS17/18, aims to prepare students for the requirements of the modern space industry and opens the way to scientific activity in conjunction with higher academic degrees. With their research work, the scientists from Giessen contribute substantially to new development in the area of electrical propulsion systems.
Current tenders for student research projects and theses can be found here.
Our workroom is located in A10.5.25. The associated laboratory is located directly opposite in room A10.5.22.