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Dr Peter Shaw

Senior Lecturer in Astronautics


I graduated with a degree in 'Physics with Satellite Technology' in 2006 from the University of Surrey and again in 2011 gaining a PhD in 'Pulsed Plasma Thrusters for Small Satellites' from the Surrey Space Centre (SSC). I helped establish the Electric Propulsion (EP) facility there and spent several years researching and building EP devices. The first EP device I designed, tested and built that was sent into space was on the UK first CubeSAT 'STRaND-1', which was nominated for a Times Higher Education Research award.

In 2011 I co-founded a medical plasma company called 'Fourth State Medicine'.

In 2013 I joined industry and worked for Surrey Satellite Technology limited. I spent two years in Assembly, Integration and Testing, building microsatellites and then a further three years in the propulsion team working on monopropellant propulsion systems and EP ground propellant loading hardware.

In 2018 I joined Kingston University becoming a champion for the KU Rocket Lab and the KU Gravity Drop tower.

Areas of specialism

  • Pulsed plasma propulsion
  • Electric propulsion
  • Satelite propulsion system design, manufacturing and testing
  • CubeSat propulsion technology
  • Microsatellite propulsion technology
  • Rocketry
  • Deep learning in plasma simulations
  • Deep learning in propulsion testing


  • PhD - Title: 'Pulsed Plasma Thrusters for Small Satellites'
  • BSc (Hons) - Physics with Satellite Technology

Professional membership

Member of the UK Space Propulsion steering committee, that advises the UK Space Agency on in-space propulsion and launcher matters.


I am interested in all aspects of Space Propulsion, from engines and system components used to launch technology into space to exploring new concepts and ideas of moving around in space. I have a hands-on approach to my teaching and research and prefer to demonstrate concepts and ideas through physical testing than purely theoretical work.

My main academic goals and objectives includes;

  • Teach and inspire the next generation of space propulsion engineers and researchers for the UK space industry.
  • Explore propulsion and launcher technologies that lower the cost per mass of getting technology into space.
  • Exploring propulsion and power technologies that will enable human exploration of the solar system with the specific aim of aiding the exploration of Jupiter and its moons.
  • Optimising propulsion system components and technologies (valves, tanks etc.) for use in micro and nano satellites
  • Influence and advise UK Government space policy decisions
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