STG-ET: DLR electric propulsion test facility

Andreas Neumann


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 with low sputtering, 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., Geile, C., Stämm, S., & Hannemann, K. (2015). DLR’s Electric Propulsion Test Facility - the First Three Years of Thruster Operation. In 34th International Electric Propulsion Conference, IEPC-2015-59-ISTS-2015-b-59 (pp. 1–6). Retrieved from

Neumann, A., & Hannemann, K. (2014). Electric Propulsion Testing at the DLR Göttingen: Facility and Diagnostics. In Space Propulsion 2014 (pp. 1–6). Retrieved from (Paper-Nr. SP2014-2970582, Session 17)

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

Neumann, A., Sinske, J., & Harmann, H.-P. (2013). The 250mN Thrust Balance for the DLR Goettingen EP Test Facility. In 33rd International Electric Propulsion Conference, IEPC2013 (pp. 1–10). Retrieved from

Cite article as: DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Technology. (2017). STG-ET: DLR electric propulsion test facility. Journal of large-scale research facilities, 3, A108.




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