Specializations and Research Interests
Dr. Walker’s primary research interests lie in electric propulsion, plasma physics, and hypersonic aerodynamics/plasma interaction. He has extensive design and testing experience with Hall thrusters and ion engines. Dr. Walker performed seminal work in Hall thruster clustering and vacuum chamber facility effects. His current research activities involve both theoretical and experimental work in advanced spacecraft propulsion systems, diagnostics, plasma physics, helicon plasma sources, space debris mitigation, magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters, and pulsed inductive thrusters. Dr. Walker also serves as a corporate consultant around his area of expertise in top-tier organizations, e.g., Newell-Rubbermaid, Lockheed Martin, and NASA.
Ph.D. 2004 University of Michigan
M.S.E. 2000 University of Michigan
B.S.E. 1999 University of Michigan
Positions Held at Georgia TechHigh-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory
Full Professor of Aerospace Engineering
2017 - Present
Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering
2011 - 2017
Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering 2005 - 2011
Head of the High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory
Low-speed Aerodynamics (AE 2020)
Experimental Fluid Dynamics (AE 3051)
Thermodynamics and Compressible Flow (AE 3450)
Technical Writing (AE 3801)
Jet and Rocket Propulsion (AE 4451)
Gasdynamics (AE 6050)
Rockets (AE 6450)
Electric Propulsion (AE 6451)
Honors and AwardsAIAA Science and Technology (SCITECH) Forum
National Academy of Engineering Symposium on Exploring a New Vision for Center-Based, Multidisciplinary Engineering Research, 2016
National Academy of Engineering US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, 2014
Lawrence Sperry Award, 2010
AFOSR Young Investigator Program Award, 2006
NASA Faculty Fellow, 2005
Class of 1969 Teaching Fellow, 2005
Arnold M. Kuethe Aerospace Engineering Fellowship, 2004
MEPO Academic Achievement Award, University of Michigan, 2001
Michigan Space Grant Consortium Graduate Fellowship, 2001, 2003
Rackham Merit Fellowship,
Universityof Michigan (NSF sponsored), 2000
GEM Fellowship, 1999
Aerospace Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award, University of Michigan, 1998
Service33rd International Electric Propulsion Conference
National Academy Committees:
National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Symposium Organizing Committee, Co-organizer for session “Engineering the Search for Earth-like Exoplanets,” 2015
National Research Council Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Committee
Committee to Review the Air Force Reusable Booster System Study, 2011-2012
Electric Propulsion Operation in the Space Environment (
EPOSE) Working Group NASA Asteroid Retrieval Mission Solar Electric Propulsion Analysis of Alternatives, 2013
NASA International Space Station Electric Propulsion Testbed Study Committee, 2011
National Institute for Rocket Propulsion Systems Solutions Provider Committee, 2011-Present
Associate Editor – AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets since 2015
Editorial Board – Frontiers in Physics and Astronomy and Space Sciences – Plasma Physics since 2015
Member of AIAA - Associate Fellow
Vice Chair of the Electric Propulsion Technical Committee
American Physical Society
American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME)
Electric Rocket Propulsion Society (ERPS)
General Chair, 35th International Electric Propulsion Conference (IEPC), Atlanta, GA, October 2017.
Sigma Gamma Tau
Tau Beta Pi
Dr. Mitchell Walker has over 15 years experience in the field of electric propulsion as a researcher, consultant, and innovator. He is a tenured Professor
inthe Georgia Institute of Technology School of Aerospace Engineering and has authored more than 100 technical publications in the field of electric propulsion. As director of the High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory, Dr. Walker leads a team of research engineers, post-doctoral students, and Ph.D. students in electric propulsion and advanced space propulsion research. Beyond his basic research program, Dr. Walker consults in the areas of electric propulsion system design, root cause on-orbit anomaly investigation, spacecraft integration, advanced propulsion technology evaluation, electric propulsion technology development roadmaps, vacuum technology, and the development and review of technical proposals.
Dr. Walker performed seminal work in Hall thruster clustering and vacuum chamber facility effects and is renowned for his extensive design and testing experience with Hall thrusters and ion engines. His current research activities focus on both theoretical and experimental work in advanced spacecraft propulsion systems, diagnostics, plasma physics, helicon plasma sources, magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters, and pulsed inductive thrusters.
For his research program, Dr. Walker has received numerous awards, including an AFOSR Young Investigator Program Award, the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award, and selection as a NASA Faculty Fellow.
Dr. Walker teaches undergraduate and
graduatecourses in thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, high-temperature gasdynamics, and propulsion. In addition, he delivers professional short courses in electric propulsion and vacuum science. Dr. Walker was selected as a Class of 1969 Teaching Fellow.
An Associate Fellow of AIAA, Dr. Walker serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. His expertise in electric propulsion has proven invaluable to corporations, laboratories, and the Air Force. Consequently, he has served on the National Research Council Reusable Booster System Committee, the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist Advanced In-Space Propulsion Panel Review, and the NASA International Space Station Electric Propulsion Testbed Study Committee. Dr. Walker also serves on the National Institute for Rocket Propulsion Systems Technology Solutions Committee and the AIAA Electric Propulsion Technical Committee as Vice Chair. He has also chaired the AIAA Electric Propulsion Subcommittee for Technical Achievement Award.
Recognized as an innovator in electric propulsion, Dr. Walker holds patents for Dual Use Hydrazine Propulsion Systems, Ion Focusing in a Hall Effect Thrusters, and Cold Cathodes and Ion Thrusters and Methods of Making and Using Same. Dr. Walker is consistently called upon to develop and implement training materials and courses for his clients to meet critical needs and deficiencies in their operations. Dr. Walker is available for consultations, technical development, and strategic planning in the areas of spacecraft propulsion, plasma physics, and vacuum technology.