Although ion thrusters produce relatively low thrusts compared to conventional propulsion systems, they are capable of generating uninterrupted propulsion for several months at a time. This can be accelerated for the propelled spacecraft.
Another special feature of traditional rocket propulsion systems is that the ion thrusters work only in space or in a vacuum.
Therefore, when testing the performance of an ion thruster during development, it is necessary to create conditions similar to space. This requires a test system that produces the same pressure conditions as space. Therefore, such a system must be able to ensure that the propeller continues to simulate the environment in space while operating at maximum thrust.
This creates a large volume requirement for the vacuum system:
The test chamber must be large enough to accommodate the propeller.
The dry type vacuum pump as the backing pump of system must have a pumping speed greater than 450 m3/h in order to be able to create a pre-stage vacuum pressure of 1 x 10-2 hPa in ten minutes.
A pumping speed of approximately 2900 l / s (for nitrogen) and a high compression turbo molecular pump are required as the high vacuum pump system. It is necessary to be able to obtain a final pressure of ≤ 1 × 10 -6 hPa in less than three hours.
A PLC-based controller is required to control manual and automated testing of the system.