Summary of the 2017 International Electric Propulsion Conference (IEPC)

VACCO Industries was a sponsor of the 2017 International Electric Propulsion Conference (IEPC) which was held from October 8 through October 12 at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Our team had the pleasure of meeting and discussing innovations in electric propulsion with professors, NASA scientists and engineers at private companies.

The sessions covered the breadth of electric propulsion research, development and uses. Speakers presented papers on topics such as:

  • Electric propulsion activities at CNES (Centre National d’études Spatiales) – the space agency of the French government. The paper was presented by Claude Boniface, who leads electric propulsion research initiatives at the agency.
  • The Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission by John Brophy, an Engineering Fellow at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Contactless space debris removal with a double sided ion thruster. The paper was presented by Mantas Dobkevicius, a low-temperature plasma researcher at Agilent Technologies
  • Design of a high density helicon plasma source for a MW level electromagnetic thruster. The paper was presented by Xiaodong Wen, an engineer at the Lanzhou Institute of Physics
  • Performance enhancement of anode-layer-type Hall thruster with mixture propellant. The paper was presented by Junko Yamasaki, a doctoral student at the University of Tsukuba.
  • Development of a controlled high voltage power supply for gridded ion thrusters. The paper was presented by Christian Roessler, a Research Assistant in the Department of Electrical Engineering at The Mittelhessen University of Applied Sciences

The IEPC takes place once every two years in the US and other countries. The Georgia Institute of Technology is home to the High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory (HPEPL). The lab conducts groundbreaking theoretical and experimental research on advanced spacecraft propulsion systems, diagnostics and plasma physics. We look forward to continue participating in the conference in the coming years.

To learn about our work in propulsion systems for CubeSats and SmallSats, please visit