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ACS space simulator for testing electric space thrusters made by the C.I.R.A.

The Medium Scale Vacuum Chamber by Angelantoni Test Technologies for C.I.R.A.

Since 2020, the ACS space simulator, called the MSVC (Medium Scale Vacuum Chamber), is part of the Italian Aerospace Research Center (C.I.R.A.) Space Propulsion Laboratory in Capua (CE).

After being presented and described at length by the C.I.R.A. at the Space Propulsion Conference in Estoril (Portugal), and at the International Electric Propulsion Conference in Boston in 2022, the MSVC (Medium Scale Vacuum Chamber) space simulator created by ACS recently played a lead role in important research at the C.I.R.A. Space Propulsion Laboratory.

Indeed, last May the test campaign on the first CR-HET 250 low-power Hall-Effect Thruster, designed and built entirely by the C.I.R.A., was launched using the MSVC space simulator. The thruster operated for about 3 hours in various operating conditions with 100W to 400W of power.

The MSVC simulator, designed specifically for R&D purposes, consists of a single-body stainless steel vacuum chamber, 2.0 meters in diameter and approximately 4.5 meters long. The chamber is able to house the thrust stand with its electric and gas power subsystems – in order to allow free expansion of the plume, reducing interactions with the chamber walls – and holds the main pumping system. It is one of the most advanced simulators in the world operating in the field of electric space propulsion research.

We are proud to quote the authors from the “Acknowledgments” section of the articles presented in Estoril and in Boston: “Moreover, authors express their gratitude to all the Angelantoni Test Technologies personnel, involved in MSVC design and manufacturing phases, for their precious cooperation.”

The C.I.R.A. has the most extensive research infrastructures in the aerospace field in Italy, with test facilities unique in the world and state-of-the-art laboratories used by national and international institutions and industries.

Its activities regard the most advanced topics in aerospace research: from the study of aeronautical aircraft and spacecraft that can fly autonomously and at very high speeds, to the development of innovative systems for reducing the environmental impact of aircraft, increasing flight safety, making air traffic management more efficient, and the development of technologies enabling future space transport systems.

The C.I.R.A. participates in the main European and international research programs, collaborates with the top Italian and foreign universities and aeronautical and space companies, and is a strong attractor of talent and industrial investments.

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