Louis Perna

Chief Scientist and Co-Founder

Louis Perna is the Chief Scientist and Co-Founder at Accion Systems. With his expertise in electric propulsion and his experience in space systems design, he guides the conception of new technologies and the development of current products toward higher performance, increased reliability, and reduced cost. In addition, Louis manages Accion’s patent portfolio, supports new business acquisition, leads thruster characterization equipment design and implementation, develops advanced manufacturing processes, provides space environment and mission analyses, and supports manufacturing outsourcing.

Louis has over a decade of direct experience with Accion’s ion electrospray propulsion systems and their underlying technologies. This experience and Accion’s origins are rooted in his undergraduate and graduate work on fundamental electrospray operation and on the development, manufacture, and experimental characterization of prototype micro-electrospray thruster devices. The microsystems design, microfabrication process development, and passive propellant distribution testing Louis completed for his master’s thesis in the MIT Space Propulsion Laboratory were the foundation of Accion’s initial thruster products.

Prior to his time at Accion, Louis worked both academically and professionally with NASA to investigate ion engine operating modes at Glenn Research Center; to design, test, and assemble interplanetary exploration rovers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; and to manage technical and programmatic risks for manned spaceflight systems for Johnson Space Center. 

Louis holds an S.M. in Aeronautics and Astronautics and an S.B. in Aerospace Engineering from MIT, and he was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30. Louis has been cleared to the Top Secret SCI level for work with the U.S. Government.