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Electric Propulsion Facilities

Vacuum Facilities

Mars Space Electric Propulsion Laboratory is equipped with two identical L-shape vacuum chambers (named MSLC-1 and MSLC-2) that are approximately 0.6 m diameter by 1.5 m long.

​Test Facility
Internal Diameter​0.6 m
0.6 m
​1.5 m
1.5 m
Pumping Speed​2,200 l/s
​4,300 l/s
Base Pressure​1x10-7 mbar
​<1x10-7 mbar


MSLC-1 is currently equipped with a direct impulsive thrust balance capable of measuring an impulse bit in the range 20 µNs to 120 µNs. The facility has been used to flight-qualify the first PPT for Cubesat applications and to test PPT for Nano-satellite applications. The facility is currently used for delta qualification and acceptance testing of cubesat PPT Flight Models

MSLC-2 is currently used to perform tests on Hollow Cathodes and Hollow Ca​thode Thrusters, and will be used for tests on the Xenon Very High Temperatu Resistojet and Ring Cusp Ion thruster.

Power Supplies and Measuring Instruments

DC electric power supplies include both low and high voltage supplies (up to 15 kV) necessary to operate PPTs and low and high current supplies to run HCs, HCTs, VHTRs and Ring Cusps (up to 60 A).

Diagnostic capabilities include two HV probes (rated up to 12 kV), one HV differential probe (rated up to 7 kV), two Rogowski coils (to measure the PPT discharge current) and a high accuracy mass scale with a resolution of 10 µg.
4-channel digital oscilloscopes and NI-DAQ USB boards are also available for real-time data processing.

For more information please contact us or email us at​