Mechanical Engineering

Contact Information

Higgins Laboratories, 239
Phone: +1-508-831-6155
Fax: +1-508-831-5680

John Joseph Blandino

Prior to joining the faculty at WPI in 2001, I was a Senior Staff Engineer in the Advanced Propulsion Technology Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). My research at JPL included application of plasma sources for materials processing and the development of pulsed plasma and small-scale hydrazine thrusters. In the mission support area, I worked as the propulsion engineer for the Deep Space 3 Interferometer and Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) missions.

I am an active member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), serving as an Associate Editor for the AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power and Vice Chair of the Executive Council for the New England Section. I am also a member of the AIAA Electric Propulsion Technical Committee.  I supported NASA’s Space Technology 7 (ST-7) mission as a member of the NASA Technology Review Board from 2002 to 2003 and as Chair of the Critical Design Review Board for NASA’s colloid micronewton thruster development activity from 2004 to 2007.

Long before I left NASA to come to WPI, I knew I wanted to both teach and conduct research. My work at WPI has allowed me to combine these two passions, working alongside bright, enthusiastic students from whom I am constantly learning new things. I have both undergraduate and graduate students working in my lab and my daily interaction with them, as well as those with many outstanding colleagues, make being part of the WPI community the rewarding experience that it is.

Research Interests

  • Investigation of hollow cathode plasma properties and processes
  • Plasma diagnostics of novel ion sources
  • Dielectrophoretic effects in fluids
  • Electric propulsion for “drag-free” flight in ultra-low earth orbit


  • BS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1987
  • MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1989
  • PhD, California Institute of Technology, 2001

Featured Publications

  • Shi, X., and Blanding, J., “Effect of Electron Bombardment on Size Distribution of Negatively Charged Droplets Produced by Electrospray,” submitted to J. Aerosol Science, 2012.\
  • Marchetti, P.J., Blandino, J.J.,  Demetriou, M. A., “Electric Propulsion and Controller Design for Drag-Free Spacecraft Operation in Low Earth Orbit,”  Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 45, No. 6, pp. 1303-1315, 2008.
  • St. Rock, B., Blandino, J., Anderson, K. and Polk, J., “Thermal Analysis of a Lithium Vaporizer for a High-Power Magnetoplasmadynamic Thruster ,” Journal of Propulsion and Power ,Vol. 22, No. 5, pp. 1098-1110, 2006.
  • Blandino, J., McDevitt, M., Mueller, J., Bame, D., and Green, A., “Characterization of Dryout Point in the Vaporizing Liquid Microthruster,” Journal of Propulsion and Power , Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 677-682, 2006.
  • Blandino, J. J. and Goodwin, D. G., "Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) Accelerator Assisted Synthesis of Diamond,” Plasma Sources Science and Technology, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 712 – 718, 2004.
  • Extended Publications

Labs and Centers

  • Fluid and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory

Professional Highlights

  • Morgan Distinguished Instructorship in Mechanical Engineering, 2003, 2011
  • Russell M. Searle Instructorship in Mechanical Engineering, 2004
  • NASA Notable Organizational Value-Added (NOVA) Team Award for Characterization of Low Thrust Helium Vent Nozzles for the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2000
  • Four Certificates of Recognition for Technical Innovation resulting in a published NASA Tech Brief, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, awarded in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2001
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