Condensable Propellant Facility
The compressible propellant ground test facility is specifically designed to evaluate EP thrusters operating on condensable propellants such as iodine, magnesium, bismuth, and zinc.
The 2-m-diameter by 4-m-long vacuum chamber utilizes three magnetically levitated turbomolecular pumps with pumping speeds of 2,000 L/s each for a robust, oil-free space environment simulation. The facility is capable of operating thrusters with power levels up to 20 kW.
In order to study the plasma flowfield and plume structure emitted from thrusters, a remotely controlled diagnostic manipulation system is fully contained within the vacuum chamber. The system is capable of 1-m by 1.5-m linear translation on two axes as well as rotation for motion control of assets during testing.