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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-vac allowing for rapid fault finding and turnaround

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

The vacuum chamber for testing of space hardware has the following characteristics: Dimensions: 2m dia x 4.5m main chamber and swing door with an isolatable (50cm gate valve) 0.75 dia x 1m loading chamber and swing door. Two Coolpower 140T cryo compressors and two Coolpack 6000H 20K cold heads. One Oerlikon Leybold MAG W 700 iP and two MAG W 2200 iP magnetically levitated turbopumps. One Edwards XDS 35i and one Oerlikon Leybold LV140C roughing pump. Interstage pumping between all main flanges and doors assure low leakage rates with double O-ring gasket system achieving ultimate vacuum of <9×10-8mbar. Graphite chevron closed loop water cooled target and 30kW chiller unit for high energy ion beams. Tempering unit for (100 ͦC) heating for accelerated outgassing of target. Heated (8kW) stainless steel sacrificial liner for accelerated outgassing. Transfer system to move a thruster from the loading chamber out into the main chamber and onto the centerline of the diagnostics arm. 4 Pirani cold heads covering 5×10-9mbar mbar to 1000 mbar. The loading chamber is equipped with a temperature controllable inner shell with LN2 and IR emitters for ESA qualification compliant thermal cycling and qualification. Hemispherical beam probe arm and diagnostics set for plume measurements, beam characterization, ion energy and thrust vector analysis. Pfeiffer Vacuum GmbH, model QMG 220 F2 residual gas analyzer and mass spectrometer with Quadera software. Mettler Toledo high accuracy thrust balance for 0-500mN thrust measurement. Ultimate vacuum of <9×10-8mbar with operation <5.0×10-5 mbar with 28sccm xenon.

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