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Dr Charlie Ryan is a Lecturer in Astronautics, specialising in developing low cost micro-propulsion systems for small spacecraft at the University of Southampton.

Dr Ryan has particular expertise in micro and mini electric propulsion, in particular electrospray thrusters and also low cost small hall-effect like thrusters. He also has a growing interest in small chemical propulsion systems, particularly using hydrogen peroxide.

Dr Charlie Ryan completed his PhD in 2011 from Queen Mary University of London, investigating the effect of applied voltage on the electrospray process, with a view to applying the findings the electrospray thrusters for spacecraft.

From his PhD completion to 2013 Dr Charlie Ryan continued working on applications of the electrospray process, specifically working as a Post-doctorate researcher focusing on developing a MEMS electrospray thruster for cubesats, as part of European Commission FP7 ‘MicroThrust’ Project. This involved the experimental characterization of Silicon manufactured micro-electrospray arrays.

In 2014 and 2015 Dr Charlie Ryan moved to the University of Surrey’s Space Centre as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow. He helped to develop a low cost Hall Effect-like thruster (based on cusped magnetic fields), measuring it’s performance, and increasing that performance dramatically from previous versions.

In September 2015 started in his current position as Lecturer in Astronautics at the University of Southampton. His research interests continue to lie in propulsion for small satellites, in particular electrospray thrusters for cubesats and also small Hall Effect Thrusters. He also has a growing interest in green chemical propulsion, in part thanks to the historical interest in the subject at Southampton, in particular in the utilization of hydrogen peroxide. Currently Dr Charlie Ryan is supervising three PhD students, and continues to develop novel small satellite propulsion towards in-space exploitation.

Research Interests

Dr Ryan research is broadly directed towards propulsion for micro and nano-satellites, using various types of propulsive techniques. These include but are not limited to; electrospray thrusters, mini hall effect thrusters, and chemical propulsion using hydrogen peroxide. He also has a strong interest in other applications of the electrospray technique, for example etching of Silicon, micro printing and medical applications. Dr Ryan also has an interest in applying plasma processes to novel fields of engineering and science.

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