News & EventsPropulsion

Aether TRR passed, test campaign on PFG ongoing!

After September’s Critical Design Review (CDR), the project passed on November 4th 2021 its Test Readiness Review (TRR).
The TRR activated Aether’s first test campaign, aimed at verifying the effectiveness of one of the key elements for developing the technology on ground: the Particle Flow Generator (PFG).
The PFG is a modified Hall Effect Thruster operated with a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, able to generate a high speed flow similar to the atmosphere a spacecraft encounters in VLEO.
The test campaign will characterize the PFG with a series of direct and indirect measures (Faraday cups, Retarding Potential Analyzers, Langmuir probes, Laser Spectroscopy) to ensure its representativeness of a VLEO atmospheric flow.
Moreover, during the test dozens of material samples will be exposed to the nitrogen-oxygen flow, to assess effects of the high energy particles on such samples, and derive useful information for future VELO spacecrafts.
Test campaign is ongoing and should end by the end of November; the developed PFG will be used to test the assembled Ram-EP system with its intake at the end of the project.

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