With the Hall Effect Thruster Development Project (HALE), Turkey will have the first facility for research and development of electric propulsion systems. The facility will be established at TÜBİTAK UZAY premises by the support of Turkish Development Ministry. Future propulsion systems developed at this facility aim to meet the in-space propulsion needs of national missions in the short and long term.
The concept of electric propulsion was first proposed and studied in 1950s in Russia and the United states. In recent years, with the improved performance of the ion and Hall Effect thrusters (HETs), this technology has become an attractive alternative solution over the conventional chemical systems within the international space industry. HALE project will bring this new technology to Turkey, providing the necessary infrastructure and technical background to develop national electric propulsion systems. The facility established in the project will also be open to the service of Turkish space industry and academia who wish to work in this field.
The facility to be established in the scope of HALE project will have the required space simulators and diagnostic tools to fully design, manufacture and test electric propulsion systems. In addition, with the technical background gained in the course of the project, an engineering model HET with 1.5 kW power will be developed and used in the verification of the infrastructure. The HET is to produce 70 mN nominal thrust and expected to have 1500s specific impulse.
HALE project is a strategically, technologically and commercially critical investment for Turkey considering the domestic and international need of the electric propulsion systems for future missions. Through HALE project, development of propulsion systems using national resources will be possible reducing the dependency on foreign sources.
The project started in June, 2010 and is planned to be completed by the end of 2015.
STATUS OF THE PROJECT BY NOVEMBER 2015
Establishment of the facility building was completed in November 2014. The closed area of the facility is 140 m2 enclosing a 100 m2 10,000-Class clean room.
The facility houses two vacuum chambers by April 2015:
The first chamber is 2.3 m in diameter and 4.5 m in length. Base and operating pressure inside the chamber is 2 10-7 Torr and 13 10-6 Torr, respectively.
The second chamber is 60 cm in diameter and 1.1 m in length. Base pressure in this small chamber reaches 10-8 Torr.
In the scope of the project, the first design of a 1.5 kW Hall Effect thruster was completed by September 2012 and the first prototype was manufactured by March 2013.
The thruster prototype was tested for the first time by February 2015 after commissioning of the first vacuum chamber in the facility. Optimization studies for better thruster performance are currently underway.