STG-ET: DLR Electric Propulsion Test Facility


  • Andreas Neumann DLR Bunsenstrasse 10 37073 Goettingen Germany



Abstract: DLR operates the High Vacuum Plume Test Facility Göttingen – Electric Thrusters (STG-ET). This electric propulsion test facility has now accumulated several years of EP-thruster testing experience. Special features tailored to electric space propulsion testing like a large vacuum chamber mounted on a low vibration foundation, a beam dump target made of low sputtering material, and a performant pumping system characterize this facility. The vacuum chamber is 12.2m long and has a diameter of 5m. With respect to accurate thruster testing, the design focus is on accurate thrust measurement, plume diagnostics, and plume interaction with spacecraft components. Electric propulsion thrusters have to run for thousands of hours, and with this the facility is prepared for long-term experiments. This paper gives an overview of the facility, and shows some details of the vacuum chamber, pumping system, diagnostics, and experiences with these components.


Neumann, A., Holz, A., Dettleff, G., Hannemann, K., and Harmann, H.-P. (2011). The New DLR High Vacuum Test Facility STG-ET. In 32nd International Electric Propulsion Conference, IEPC-2011-093 (pp. 1-6). Retrieved from

Neumann, A., Sinske, J., and Harmann, H.-P. (2013). The 250mN Thrust Balance for the DLR Göttingen EP Test Facility. In 34nd International Electric Propulsion Conference, IEPC-2013-211 (pp. 1-10). Retrieved from

Neumann, A., and Hannemann, K. (2014). Electric Propulsion Testing at DLR Göttingen: Facility and Diagnostics. Space Propulsion Conference 2014, Paper Identification Number 2970582 (pp. 1-10). Retrieved from

Neumann, A., Geile, C., Stämm, S., and Hannemann, K. (2015). DLR’s Electric Propulsion Test Facility – the First Three Years of Thruster Operation. In 34th International Electric Propulsion Conference and 6th Nano-satellite Symposium, IEPC-2015-b/IEPC-59 (pp 1-6). Retrieved from

Cite article as: DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Technology. (2018). STG-ET: DLR Electric Propulsion Test Facility.

Journal of large-scale research facilities, 4, A134.