The David Fearn Electric Propulsion Laboratory is a state-of-the-art electric propulsion and space systems testing laboratory and is used in the qualification of ESA EP projects. The thruster test facility consists of two chambers separated by a large pneumatic gate valve. This design allows the loading chamber to be accessed independently of the main chamber at high-vacuum, allowing for rapid fault finding and turnaround. The test chamber is also equipped with a tempered beam target and a heated shell comprising steel liner sheets. The loading chamber is equipped with a thermal shroud for thermal cycling and qualification. Three viewports are installed around the plant, one in the loading chamber and two in the test chamber.
The vacuum chamber has the following characteristics