We enjoy following the journey of Applied Ion Systems to develop plasma and ion thruster systems for nanosatellites at a hobbyist-level budget. Xometry published a case study on AIS:
More than half a century later, at 5:30 pm EST on March 22 of 2021, Michael Bretti was sitting in his living room. He was eagerly watching a live stream of a satellite launch. The satellite, christened “Care Weather Hatchling Veery 1U Cubesat”, was equipped with an AIS-gPPT3-1C Micro Pulsed Plasma Thruster. This plasma thruster would help the satellite make very small maneuvers in orbit. Michael built that thruster through months of trial and error. And he did it in the basement of his New York home.
“It was unreal. What started as a hobby led me to build something that is now in orbit. I got to see the payload separate from the rocket. When you know something you built and touched is now floating in the atmosphere, it’s a cool feeling.”