Institut de Combustion Aérothermique Réactivité et Environnement


National Plasma Propulsion Test Facility

Contact : Stéphane MAZOUFFRE

Principales features

Stainless steel vacuum chamber: cylindrical L 1.8m x D 0.8m

Dry primary pump : 400 m3/h
Turbomolecular pump : 2200 l/s
Cryogenic pump : 8000 l/s

Cold panel : 0.5 m²
Pressure Min N2 : 10-6 mBar-N2
Pressure Min Xe : 2.10-5 mBar-Xe
Temperature : 35 K
Gases : N2, O2 et H2


The chamber is equipped with different observation windows, diagnostic ports as well as electrical, optical and gas feed-throughs. The interior of the test bench is easy to access using a large front door.
Thrusters can be mounted onto linear translation stages to allow displacement in the axial, radial and vertical directions. Ion beam properties investigation can be realized with a set of electrostatic probes: Langmuir probe, Faraday cup, energy analyzer, E×B probe. Probes are installed on a rotation stage to cover a 180° circular arc. In addition, thrust measurements can be performed using a dedicated pendulum thrust stand with an accuracy of 50 µN.

Applications and research areas

Propulsion électrique des engins spatiaux.