Laboratorio di Propulsione Elettrica

Gruppo di Ricerca
Fabrizio Paganucci
Giulia Becatti
Manuel Saravia
Guido Giammarinaro
Francesco Marconcini
Collaborazioni esterne
Dip. Chimica e Chimica Industriale – Università di Pisa
Dip. Fisica – Università di Pisa
Consorzio RFX, Padova.
CISUP – Università di Pisa
Aerospazio Tecnologie SRL, Siena
Sitael SpA, Pisa

Fiberglass vacuum facility: the vacuum facility consists of a fiberglass vessel 800 mm in dia., 1000 mm in length (a fiberglass extension 1500 mm in length is available). It is equipped with an Edwards scroll pump GVSP30 for rough vacuum and an Edwards turbomolecular pump STP-iS2207 for high vacuum (up to 10 -5 mbar). The chamber is suitable for testing low power (100 W range) electric thrusters, hollow cathodes, small green propellant thrusters and devices requiring a low- pressure environment. The fiberglass vessel is particularly suitable for tests requiring a low electromagnetic interference of the vessel.

propulsione elettrica 3

Educational facility for plasma discharges: Pyrex vacuum chamber, 100 mm in dia., 500 mm in length, equipped ith a rotary pump. The chamber is particularly suitable to perform plasma discharges for educational purposes.

propulsione elettrica 2 

Other equipments:

  • General purpose data acquisition system (including three digital oscilloscopes, current and voltage probes) for electric propulsion experiments;
  • Electrical power supplies (up to 300 W) for DC

Main research activities and projects:

  • TANDEM (High-power Hall thruster prototype with coaxial channels) ESA – TRP program. Development of a high-power (25 kW) nested Hall thruster and of a hollow cathode with a wide current-range (2021-on going).
  • ASPIRE (Advanced Space Propulsion for Innovative Realization of Space Exploration) H2020 Program GADevelopment of numerical methods for the study of high-power Hall thrusters (2021-on going).
  • I2HET (Use of Iodine as Propellant for Hall Effect Thrusters Development and Test of an iodine-fed Electric propulsion System ESA) ESA – TRP program EXPRO+. Development of a Hall thruster, including cathode and feeding system, with iodine as a propellant (2017-on going).
  • AMHC (Hollow Cathode for Electric Propulsion using Advanced Manufacturing Techniques) ESA TRP project. Design and realization of hollow cathodes with additive manufacturing techniques (2019-on going).
  • PROSPERA (Advanced Technologies for Space Electric Propulsion) Regione Toscana. Analysis and testing of advanced manufacturing techniques, e.g., additive manufacturing, ceramic-metal welding, etc., for spacecraft electric propulsion applications (2022-on going).
  • Hydrogen Cathode (Development of a hydrogen hollow cathode for fusion applications). Internal research project in collaboration with Consorzio RFX Padova for the development of a negative ions generator in the framework of nuclear fusion research (2021-on going).