The Surrey Space Centre propulsion test facilities assigned for electric propulsion development consist of two large vacuum chambers (Pegasus and Daedalus) and three small chambers.
Propulsion test facilities
The “Pegasus” vacuum chamber has dimensions of 1.2 meters in length by 1.2 meters diameter and is fitted with a cryogenic pump connected in series to a rotary pump. The facility pump down and venting procedures are fully automated through a custom designed PLC unit.
The “Daedalus” test facility consists of a vacuum chamber with total length of 3 meters and a diameter of approximately 1.8 meters.
The large chamber offers the advantage of incorporating three small chambers, which may be pumped down independently due to a gate valve separating the smaller chambers from the main chamber.
The Daedalus vacuum chamber incorporates a three stage pumping system:
- High capacity rotary pump
- Turbo-molecular pump
- Cryogenic pump for high vacuum operation.
This facility offers the option of concurrent testing of propulsion systems which provides an advantage for qualification and life time tests for EP devices.