David Malaspina

Research Scientist


  • 303-492-9501
  • Office: SPSC-N290E


Scientific Interests:
Dr. Malaspina conducts experimental space physics research focused on plasma waves, spacecraft charging, cosmic dust, solar wind structures and dynamics, and related phenomena in the solar wind and planetary magnetospheres. He has analyzed data from missions such as Wind, STEREO, THEMIS, Van Allen Probes, MAVEN, Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS), and in the near future, Solar Probe Plus (SPP). He has a key role in laboratory plasma experiments designed to probe the physics of hypervelocity dust impacts on spacecraft and spacecraft surface charging.

Instrumentation Work:
Dr. Malaspina's spacecraft instrumentation experience is centered on signal processing techniques and hardware, the measurement of electric and magnetic fields from spacecraft, and the measurement of dust grains through impact ionization. Dr. Malaspina has experience with design, fabrication, testing, calibration, and operation of the Digital Fields Board (DFB) signal processing board for the Electric Fields and Waves (EFW) instrument on the Van Allen Probes, the Digital Signal Processing Board (DSP) for the FIELDS instrument on the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) and the DFB for the FIELDS instrument on Solar Probe Plus.


Purdue University — West Lafayette, Indiana
B.S. Physics (2005)

University of Colorado — Boulder, Colorado
Ph.D. Physics (2010)

Employment history

University of Colorado / LASP — Research Scientist
2013 - Present

University of Colorado / LASP — Post-doctoral Researcher

University of Colorado / LASP — Graduate Student Research Assistant
2006 - 2010

University of Colorado — Graduate Student Teaching Assistant
2005 - 2006


Electron plasma waves
Kinetic plasma physics
Spacecraft charging
Dust detection by electric field antennas
Spacecraft burst algorithms
Signal processing


MMS [Kinetic wave physics in Earth's magnetosphere]

MAVEN [Dust detection at Mars using electric field antennas]

Van Allen Probes [Plasma waves, Plasma boundaries, Kinetic-scale electric field structures]

Wind [Solitary waves in the solar wind, Wind dust database]

STEREO [Solar wind Langmuir waves, Type II and Type III solar radio bursts, Solar wind current sheets, Dust detection, Laboratory studies of dust impact-antenna coupling]


See CV (below) for full publication list


American Geophysical Union (AGU) member

Honors and awards

MMS SMART Team Exceptional Achievement for Engineering
MAVEN Team Exceptional Achievement for Engineering Team
Van Allen Probes Project Team Group Achievement Award