Astronautics Group Electric Propulsion and Thermal Vacuum Facilities


​​​​Thermal Vacuum Facility within the David Fearn EP Laboratory​​​


​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​​