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An end-to-end model is presented of the transient plume created by a microlaser ablation plasma thruster. In this article, we describe a model of the plasma generation and expansion for a micro-laser plasma thruster operated in transmission-mode (T-mode). The laser ablation and plasma formation processes are modeled using a kinetic ablation model. This procedure provides boundary conditions at the target surface for the plume model that is based on a particle computational approach. The present study considers a 2.5–8 W diode-based laser irradiating a poly-vinyl chloride target for a pulse length of 3–10 ms. Laser beam shape full width at half maximum at the target is about 25×25 μm. The plume simulations reveal many details of the multicomponent plasma expansion. The results are compared with experimentally obtained plume signatures. Generally good agreement between experimental and calculated flux profiles is found. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.