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Challenges of Cryopumping EP-Propellants in DLR’s Electric Propulsion Test Facility

Neumann, Andreas and Volkmar, Chris and Hannemann, Klaus (2019) Challenges of Cryopumping EP-Propellants in DLR’s Electric Propulsion Test Facility. In: 36th International Electric Propulsion Conference 2019. 36th International Electric Propulsion Conference, 2019-09-15 - 2019-09-20, Wien, Austria.

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Official URL: https://planner.smart-abstract.com/uploads/IEPC19/abstracts/pdf/A-123-Paper-List-1.pdf


The German Aerospace Center DLR operates in Goettingen the test facility STG-ET for electric space propulsion. This facility has been especially designed for electric propulsion testing with a large graphite target that reduces the impact of sputtering, and ion beam diagnostics for monitoring thruster operation. In the early times of electric space propulsion development mercury or caesium were typical propellants due to their easy cryopumping in vacuum chambers, simple handling and low ionization energies. Thruster erosion, metal deposition on chamber walls and on other devices inside chambers, and major health and safety issues forced a switch of propellant to safer noble gases. Electric space propulsion is on the rise over the last few decades, and the most common propellant for mN electric thrusters actually is the noble gas xenon. Therefore, at the STG-ET cryopumps with high pumping speed for xenon are installed. Xenon is the favorite propellant, but this gas is rare and expensive. The rapid market growth triggered activities for studying alternative propellants. This paper describes the pumping system of STG-ET and pumping speed measurements for xenon, krypton and argon. Another aspect of operation and pumping speed measurement is the usage of precise pressure transducers. These devices are often treated as robust and accurate, but hands-on experience often draws a different picture. We found a rather short lifetime if nominal accuracy is expected. Furthermore, one must be aware of gas composition dependence of measurements.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/124390/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Challenges of Cryopumping EP-Propellants in DLR’s Electric Propulsion Test Facility
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Volkmar, ChrisUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5038-3834UNSPECIFIED
Date:15 September 2019
Journal or Publication Title:36th International Electric Propulsion Conference 2019
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:electric Propulsion, vacuum chamber, cryopump
Event Title:36th International Electric Propulsion Conference
Event Location:Wien, Austria
Event Type:international Conference
Event Start Date:15 September 2019
Event End Date:20 September 2019
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Transportation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R RP - Space Transportation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Reusable Space Systems and Propulsion Technology
Location: Göttingen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute for Aerodynamics and Flow Technology > Spacecraft, GO
Deposited By: Neumann, Andreas
Deposited On:15 Nov 2019 15:25
Last Modified:24 Apr 2024 20:28

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