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Test Facility Establishment Project for Hall Thruster System Development

In the scope of the project “Establishment of a Test Facility for Hall Thruster Systems Development (HALE)”, which was initiated at TUBITAK UZAY by the support of Turkish Ministry of Development, the first electric propulsion test facility in Turkey was founded.

The facility consists of a 100 m2 100.000 class clean room, electrical and mechanical workshops, and an office area. In the clean room, there are three vacuum chambers: two big chambers are for the operational and performance tests of the propulsion systems under development and the small vacuum chamber is for the development of cathodes, an integral part of Hall thruster systems.

Test setups in the vacuum chambers include a thrust stand in order to measure the thrust created by the system; various plasma probes to determine the physical properties of the plume; and thermocouples and thermal camera to study the thermal properties of the system parts.

The first 1.5 kW Hall Effect thruster has been already designed, manufactured and tested using the infrastructure established in the scope of HALE. The first prototypes of other system parts, including Propellant Feeding, Cathode, Power Processing and Control Units, were also designed and manufactured. The project is planned to be finalized at the end of 2018 by verifying the facility through performance of the system test and qualification processes.

The project started in June, 2010 and is planned to be completed by the end of 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.