Our Team

The ZARATHUSTRA Team

ZARATHUSTRA brings together experts with a unique combination of skills in modeling and numerical simulation, thruster design and testing, plasma diagnostics and vacuum systems, and linear and non-linear data-driven analysis techniques to achieve the project goals. The team is part of the Plasmas and Space Propulsion Team at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and counts with the support and feedback of colleagues and external collaborators across the electric propulsion and the nuclear fusion communities.

We are committed with the personal and professional development of each one of our members, in particular the training of our students and postdocs, in whom we strive to instill the values of curiosity, responsibility, critical thinking, and ethical research. If you believe you can contribute to the project and would like to be part of ZARATHUSTRA, do not hesitate to contact us.

Staff researchers

Mario Merino Martínez

Mario Merino Martínez

Associate professor, principal investigator

Mario is an associate professor at the Aerospace Engineering department of UC3M, working on the design, modeling, simulation, and testing of electrodeless space plasma thrusters as part of the EP2 research group. He is most interested on understanding the physics of these devices through modeling, simulation, testing and data analysis.

Jaume Navarro Cavallé

Jaume Navarro Cavallé

Postdoctoral researcher

Jaume is the laboratory manager of the EP2 research group, and works on the design, development, and testing of plasma diagnostics and plasma thrusters. Together with Mario, he is advising the PhD thesis of Célian Boyé on the development and testing of the first Magnetic Arch thruster prototype.

Filippo Terragni

Filippo Terragni

Visiting professor

Filippo is part of the Mathematics Department at UC3M and works on reduced order models of fluid and dynamical systems, modal decompositions, data-driven processing techniques, and numerical simulation of biological processes.

Pablo Fajardo Peña

Pablo Fajardo Peña

Associate professor

Pablo works on the fluid and kinetic modeling of space plasma thrusters, plasma diagnostics, and the design of electric propulsion systems as part of the EP2 research group.

Eduardo Ahedo Galilea

Eduardo Ahedo Galilea

Full professor

Eduardo is the head of the EP2 research group, and has a long academic trajectory in the modeling and simulation of Hall thrusters and other devices. Together with Mario, he is advising the PhD thesis of Diego García Lahuerta on the fluid modeling of advanced electrodeless plasma thrusters.

Doctoral researchers and students

Célian Boyé

Célian Boyé

PhD researcher

Célian‘s thesis is a central contribution to ZARATHUSTRA, as he is in charge of the design, construction, and experimental characterization of the first Magnetic Arch electrodeless plasma thruster.

Diego García Lahuerta

Diego García Lahuerta

PhD researcher

Diego‘s work as a ZARATHUSTRA PhD student focuses on the development of Multi-fluid models and codes, essential to unravel the physics of their operation, plasma transport, and heating.

Davide Maddaloni

Davide Maddaloni

PhD researcher

Davide is researching data-driven analysis techniques such as POD, high-order DMD, EMD, and others, and their application to unearth hidden features and trends in numerical and experimental thruster data.

Clara Puerto Sánchez

Clara Puerto Sánchez

Aerospace engineering bachelor student

Clara is carrying out her bachelor thesis on the review and critical discussion of advanced data-driven analysis techniques that could be of pivotal importance to extract valuable information from ZARATHUSTRA’s numerical and experimental data.

You

You

Will you be part of the next space revolution?

We are always on the lookout for outstanding students and postdocs to join the team. If you have a brilliant academic record with a solid background in mathematics, physics, and/or engineering, and are able to work autonomously and in a team, do not hesitate to contact us. International students are particularly welcome!

Support staff

Christian J. Backenköhler Casajús

Christian J. Backenköhler Casajús

Project administrative

Christian is the project administrative of ZARATHUSTRA and another ERC project in the Aerospace Engineering Department. He supports and assists the rest of the team.