The UK’s National Space Propulsion Test Facility




Exterior view of the National Space Propulsion Test Facility A new capability for vacuum testing of chemical space propulsion thrusters. Funded and owned by the UK Space Agency as part of our mission to inspire and lead the UK in space.

Located at Westcott Venture Park near Aylesbury in the English cou​ntryside, the open-access test facility for thrusters operates in the range of 100N to 1,500N is ​fully instrumented, with a thrust stand and thermal cameras alongside flow and temperature measurements. A dedicated and experienced testing team ensures all the operational aspects are taken care of, with propellant analysis available on-site providing complete peace of mind.

Backed by a £4 million investment by the UK Space Agency, the NSPTF​ builds on ext​ensive rocket testing heritage in the UK to deliver a unique capability. The facility is open and ready to undertake development, qualification, and acceptance test programmes for chemical thrusters.

For more information and to book a testing slot, please contact us at:

UK NSPTF. Credit: STFC RAL Space

Multiple testing capabilities

  • 3 high altitude horizontal chemical rocket test facilities in one location:
    • ​​1,500 N
    • 30 N
    • 3 N
  • Access to facility includes:
    • Propellant management & conditioning​
    • Instrumented thrust stand with full data acquisition
    • Dedicated and experienced test operators

Development, qualification & acceptance testing

  • Monopropellant and bipropellant capability:
    • Reaction control system thrusters
    • Attitude control system thrusters
    • Apogee engines
  • Propellant compatibility:
    • Hydrazine
    • MonoMethylHydrazine (MMH)
    • Mixed Oxides of Nitrogen (MON3)

Dedicated customer room

  • Real-time data relay
  • Video conference capability
  • WiFi access
  • Working space
  • Basic welfare amenities​

Customer room at the National Space Propulsion Test Facility
Customer room at the NSPTF. Credit: STFC RAL Space

Vacuum pumps at the National SPace Propulsion Test Facility
Vacuum pumps at the NSPTF. Credit: STFC RAL Space

Vacuum environment

  • Electric pump set
    • Modular arrangement
    • Allowance for future expansion
  • Fast start-up, test ready in <15 minutes
  • High pumping capacity:
    • 4.5mbar cell pressure (~120,000 ft) for 1.5 kN thrusters
    • ​1.5mbar cell pressure (near vacuum) for 1 kN thrusters

Open Access Facility​

Testing slots brokered through STFC. Contact us at: ​
​the National Space Propulsion Test Facility is owned by the UK Space Agency, managed by STFC​, and operated by Nammo.