Space Propulsion Lab
Experimental facilities include two 1-meter-diameter vacuum chambers with associated pumping and thrust-measurement equipment. Microwave sources from 2.45 GHz to 20 GHz are available with peak power up 450 kW. Optical and plasma probe diagnostics are used for plasma characterization.
Our experimental facilities also allow for full-scale testing of small spacecraft in a low Earth orbit (LEO)–type environment. The facility is comprised of a vacuum chamber capable of thermal cycling, a plasma source capable of producing streaming ions (1–4 eV) and low-energy electrons (~0.1 eV), and a host of diagnostic tools. Quality assurance tests can be formed at full-scale on 3-U CubeSats (and potentially larger) to assess system or component performance in a realistic plasma environment.