DLR‘s electric propulsion test facility
RIT ion thruster operating in vacuum chamber
Vacuum chamber with beam dump target and plasma diagnostics
Thrust measurement device with mounted thruster
DLR operates test facilities for space propulsion at its site in Göttingen. Besides vacuum facilities for chemical and cold-gas thrusters DLR has a dedicated electric propulsion test chamber, the STG-ET.
Electric space propulsion is nowadays on the rise in the telecommunications sector and had been used for science missions like ESA’s Smart1 or NASA’s Dawn. Due to its high efficiency and very good thrust control this technology has a great potential.
The STG-ET facility was designed especially for electric space propulsion and their long term testing. The main component of the facility is a large vacuum chamber of 12m length and 5m diameter. Besides performing measurements of thrust or beam profiles on the thrusters the facility is meant to investigate the interaction of thruster plume with spacecraft components.
Fields of application