Test Facility Establishment Project for Hall Thruster System Development
In the scope of the project “Establishment of a Test Facility for Hall Thruster Propulsion Systems Development (HALE)”, which was initiated in 2010 and completed in 2018 at TUBITAK UZAY by the support of Turkish Ministry of Development, not only the first electric propulsion test facility in Turkey was founded but also Turkey’s first electric propulsion system was developed.
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: the two big chambers are in use since 2015 and dedicated to performance tests of the propulsion systems under development; and the small vacuum chamber is operational since 2017 and used for the development of Cathode and Xenon Feeding Unit, an integral part of Hall thruster systems.
Test setups in the vacuum chambers include a thrust stand 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.
In addition to this test facility, Turkey’s first Hall Effect Propulsion system with all necessary equipment was also designed, manufactured and tested in the scope of this project. The first prototype of the 1.5 kW Hall Effect thruster was designed, manufactured and tested in 2015 using the established infrastructure. The other parts comprising the electric propulsion system – Xenon Feeding Unit, Cathode, Power Processing and Control Units - were also designed, manufactured and successfully tested in the scope of HALE. This developed system, being Turkey’s first indigenous electric propulsion system, will be experimentally used on TÜRKSAT 6A satellite and gain flight heritage.
1.5 kW Hall Effect Propulsion System Equipment: Thruster with Cathodes, Power Processing-Control Unit, Xenon Feeding Unit
Photograph of the Thruster taken during firing test in the vacuum chamber