PSTDL Huskyworks Lab: Open Student Positions

The Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL) or Huskyworks for short, needs 3 talented students to help develop our technology for Lunar and Martian In-situ Resource Utilization. If you want to help us develop space technology, then read below:

Who We Are

The PSTDL is a research lab based out of Michigan Tech that was founded by Dr. Paul van Susante in 2019. We build cutting-edge solutions for planetary In-Situ Resource Utilization of the Moon, Mars, and beyond while supporting NASA’s Artemis missions with our state-of-the-art environmental testing facilities and engineering services.

[Website Link] [Linkedin Link][Lab News Link][Lab Vid Link]

  1. General Information/Qualifications
  • Must be a US Person (Green Card holder or US Citizen).
  • Must be enrolled at Michigan Tech as a grad or undergrad during the contract period.
  • Option for class credit (MEEM 4999) or Hourly Pay
  • Hourly pay rates: $17/hr undergrad, $20/hr grad.
  • 10 hours/ week during the spring and fall semesters, up to 40 hrs/week in summer.
  • Contract renewal on a semesterly basis.
  • Looking for people who are motivated to learn (and can prove it).
  • Must be able to work as part of a team and independently.
  1. Summary of Class Credit Offer
  • You can enroll in a 3 credit hour 4000/5000-level special topics class which counts as a technical elective, can be senior-ruled for grad school, and counts towards an aerospace minor. 
  • There is no exam: just pure engineering project work with our team, documentation, and presentation of your work, and occasional design reviews.
  • You will receive a grade at the end of the class which counts towards your departmental GPA (Mechanical Engineering). Grades are based on the quality and completion of the project work. 
  • If we place in the challenge and win prize money, you may choose to either continue working on the mission(s) for class credit or switch to an hourly position ($17/hr). 
  • These projects look very good on a resume; our largest of turnover in the lab is students internships at NASA and other aerospace companies (this is encouraged).
  1. Summary of Available Positions

A summary of our current openings can be seen below.

Program Job Name Start semester, hours per week Short  Description
LuSTR 2020 R&D Test Engineer SP23, 10 hrs/wk Fabrication and testing of cone penetrometer science instrument to the lunar surface for resources and determine their properties in-situ. 
Watts Electrical Engineer x2 SP23, 10 hrs/wk Design and manufacturing of DC power transmission and storage system for the lunar surface. Main focus of this position is DC power conversion.

LuSTR 2020 Thermal/Volatiles Prospecting (Robotic Lunar Resource Surveyor) 

The goal of the 2020 LuSTR program is to develop science instruments that survey the lunar surface for resources and determine their properties in-situ. A heated cone penetrometer will measure geotechnical properties and measure the presence and quantity of frozen vapors, such as water ice, methane, methanol, ethylene, and other volatile compounds under the lunar surface. This is combined with a ground penetrating radar to measure if the subsurface contains layers, rocks, etc. Development occurs in the lab while integrated testing is done with the HOPLITE rover at the stamp sands and eventually Keweenaw Research Center (KRC). 

  • Open Position: Mechanical Engineer
  • Duration: Spring Semester 2023
  • Expected Tasks:
    • Hardware Fabrication, Machine Shop Work (Lathe, Mill, etc.)
    • Component Assembly
    • Experminal Testing with Hazardous Materials
    • Test Data and Observations Documentation
  • Qualifications
    • Machine shop experience (MEEM 6th floor shop training desirable)
    • MATLAB Experimental Analysis
    • Documentation and report writing skills

Watts on the Moon: TEMPEST – Lunar Power Transmission

NASA’s Watts on the Moon Challenge seeks solutions for energy distribution, management, and/or storage that address NASA technology gaps and can be further developed for space flight and future operation on the lunar surface. The PSTDL’s TEthered Mechanism for Persistent Energy Storage and Transmission (TEMPEST) completes this objective by the use of a superconducting tether and taking advantage of the cryogenic temperatures near the moon’s poles. The PSTDL is currently competing in Phase 2, level 2 of this challenge, and is beginning testing in our thermal vacuum chamber.

  • Open Position: Electrical Engineer (x2)
  • Duration: Spring Semester 2023
    • Possible Extension into Summer 2023
  • Expected Tasks
    • Digital/analog electronics design
    • Cable harnessing
    • Circuit Prototyping
  • Qualifications
    • Proficiency with oscilloscopes, multimeters, function generators
    • Soldering
    • PCB Design
  • Preferred Qualifications
    • Altium
    • Power Electronics Experience

How to Apply:

  1. Start by applying online using your MTU email [Application Form Link].
  2. We will then go through 2 rounds of down-selection by reviewing your submitted material. If selected we will proceed with conducting an in-person interview between you and the lab staff. 
  3. We aim to fill all hiring positions by January 20th, 2023, at the latest.

Additional Questions

Direct additional related questions to one or more of the following individuals:

    Dr. Paul van Susante (

Travis Wavrunek (

    Marcello Guadagno (

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