Electrical Propulsion Test Facility ASTERIX
AsteriX (Acceptance test facility for electric Xenon thruster) is designed for acceptance testing of RIT thrusters. It is currently used for the qualification and acceptance testing of the RIT2X system
The facility has a length 6m and a diameter of 3m. The thruster is placed in a shroud with diameter of 0,6m. The temperature threshold of the shroud is in between -85 to 200 °C.
Base pressure is down to 10-8 mbar (7,5x10-9 Torr) and the pumping speed is 130000 liters/second (for Xenon).
The chamber can be upgraded to 330000 liters/second, adding additional cryo panels.
As Beam diagnostic a faraday cup setup (measuring ion current density) with 13 single cups distributed over a full beam cross section is used for the thruster characterization (-24° to +24° - one cup every 4°). The vertical faraday cup arm can be rotated to give a spherical result for the ion current density distribution. Other equipment - e.g. optical setups can be installed if needed.
The facility is designed to operate 24/7.
A water cooled graphite skinned target is installed inside the back of the chamber in such a way that the integral sputter rate is minimized.
A test environment control system is monitoring all parameters giving specific thresholds for shutdown. Also the facility can me operated remotely for e.g. week end or night shift operation.
A detailed description can be found inside the following literature:
THE 2ND GROUND-BASED SPACE FACILITIES SYMPOSIUM
Test Facility for Electric Propulsion Testing at ArianeGroup - Lampoldshausen