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Electric Propulsion Laboratory

The Electric Propulsion Laboratory (EPL) supports research and development of spacecraft power and electric propulsion systems.  The staff of EPL have been supporting electric propulsion and power system testing for over 40 years.

Facility Overview

Ion Engine Test
Post Ion Engine Test Documentation of Tank 5 Interior.

The Electric Propulsion Laboratory (EPL) supports research and development of spacecraft power and electric propulsion systems.

EPL features two very large space environment simulation chambers; intermediate and smaller environment simulation chambers suitable for testing small engines or components; bell jars used for development and small-scale component testing; and support areas including an electronics shop, machine shop, clean room, and office space.

The space simulation chambers have been enhanced to support the unique requirements of electric propulsion and power system testing. VF-5 cryopumps 3.5 million liters of air per second with its 33.5 sq meter of 12 K helium cryopanels. Several of the chambers have multiple air-locked access ports. These ports allow several tests to be conducted simultaneously in each chamber without cycling the chamber back to atmospheric pressure during introduction or removal of test hardware. Conditioned DC power is supplied to VF-5, VF-6 and VF-12 for powering ion, hall and MPD thrusters.

Fission Surface Power Technology.
Fission Surface Power Technology Demonstration Unit.

The staff of EPL have been supporting electric propulsion and power system testing for over 40 years and have developed technology leading techniques with precision thrust balances, thruster erosion diagnostics, plume characterization, and EMI/EMC.

Quick Facts

The Electric Propulsion Laboratory (EPL) supports research and development of spacecraft power and electric propulsion systems. EPL features two very large space environment chambers; intermediate and smaller environment simulation chambers for testing small engines or components; bell jars used for small-scale development and component testing; and support areas.

Name Electric Propulsion Laboratory
Vacuum Facilities
  • VF-5 and VF-6: Very high pumping speed for electric propulsion testing
  • Four intermediate chambers (VF-8, VF-12, VF-13, & VF-67)
Laboratory and Build-up area 50,000 square feet

Capabilities

General EPL Capabilities

Vacuum Facility 5 (VF-5)

Vacuum Facility 6 (VF-6)

Vacuum Facility 8 (VF-8)

Vacuum Facility 12 (VF-12)

Vacuum Facility 13 (VF-13)

Vacuum Facility 17 (VF-17)

Vacuum Facility 56 (VF-56)

Vacuum Facility 67 (VF-67)

Contact

Electric Propulsion Laboratory 
Facility Manager: Mary J. Lobo
216-433-8398
Mary.J.Lobo@nasa.gov

Testing Division
21000 Brookpark Rd., MS 6-8
Cleveland, Ohio 44135
216-433-8301
William.P.Camperchioli@nasa.gov

If you are unsure about whom to contact about a specific facility question, please call our main number at 216-433-4000.

Using Our Facilities

NASA’s Glenn Research Center provides ground test facilities to industry, government, and academia. If you are considering testing in one of our facilities or would like further information about a specific facility or capability, please let us know.

Did you test in one of our facilities? Let us know about your experience by participating in our customer facility evaluation survey.

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