High-Vac­u­um Plume Test Fa­cil­i­ty for Chem­i­cal Thrusters (STG-CT)

Testing room
Test­ing room
Image 1/5, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Testing room

View in­to the test­ing room. In the fore­ground lies the rear view of the en­gine. Elec­tron­ics and fu­el lines have to be heat­ed. The in­su­la­tion foil pro­tects the cold walls from the ra­di­at­ed heat.
Vacuum chamber (open)
Vac­u­um cham­ber (open)
Image 2/5, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Vacuum chamber (open)

The large-scale fa­cil­i­ty of the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (Deutsches Zen­trum für Luft- und Raum­fahrt; DLR) en­ables ex­per­i­ments with chem­i­cal at­ti­tude con­trol thrusters un­der vac­u­um con­di­tions sim­i­lar to those in space.
Buffer Balloon
Buffer Bal­loon
Image 3/5, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Buffer Balloon

Coolant (he­li­um) evap­o­rat­ing in the ex­per­i­ment is col­lect­ed in a buffer bal­loon (100m³). Once filled, the he­li­um is com­pressed in pres­surised cylin­ders.
Typical 2N hydrazine monopropellant thruster
Typ­i­cal 2N hy­drazine mono­pro­pel­lant thruster
Image 4/5, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Typical 2N hydrazine monopropellant thruster

The con­i­cal noz­zle (top right in the pic­ture) is about the size of a thumb­nail. The largest com­po­nent is the pro­pel­lant valve.
Stored, gaseous helium
Stored, gaseous he­li­um
Image 5/5, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Stored, gaseous helium

Gaseous he­li­um stored in pres­sure cylin­ders is liq­ue­fied in an ex­pan­sion ma­chine (left).

The High-Vacuum Plume Test Facility for Chemical Thrusters (STG-CT) at the DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology in Göttingen is a unique cryogenic vacuum facility with a 10-cubic-metre test chamber where spacecraft thrusters can be operated and investigated under space-like vacuum conditions (< 10-5 mbar).

Space-like vacuum conditions for thrusters

This German Aerospace Center (DLR) large-scale facility enables experiments on chemical thrusters under space-like vacuum conditions. The aim of the experiments is to characterise the propagation of exhaust plumes and the way in which they interact with spacecraft components. The results of these tests are used to establish requirements for the planning of attitude and orbit control systems and manoeuvres, or to develop measures to prevent contamination or excessive heating.

Contact
  • Volker Speelmann
    Head of Cen­tral Ex­pen­di­ture Man­age­ment
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-4103
    Fax: +49 2203 601 4115
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne
    Contact
  • Dr. Ing. Martin Grabe
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Aero­dy­nam­ics and Flow Tech­nol­o­gy
    Space­craft
    Telephone: +49 551 709-2476
    Bunsenstraße 10
    37073 Göttingen
    Contact

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