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Electric propulsion diagnostic package flight model

Programme Reference
Prime Contractor
Start Date
End Date
The objective of this activity is to develop a proto-flight model (PFM) of the electric propulsion diagnostic package (EPDP), ready to be launched on-board the German Heinrich-Hertz satellite as a flight opportunity. The proposed activity shall include all design, manufacturing and qualification needed to accommodate the build flight prototype safely on Heinrich-Hertz satellite.='times>
EPDP stands for the Electric Propulsion Diagnostic Package, which is an instrument ;consisting of an EBox and 3 sensors for measuring plasma parameters and effects generated by modern Hall-Effect thrusters, e. g., the HEMPT.
To verify simulations and estimations concerning erosion of the solar cell array interconnects resulting from the HEMPT and HET plasma for the first time an Erosion Sensor (ES) is planned to be built for live in-orbit measurements.
Erosion of interconnects due to plasma exposure, e. g., for solar cell interconnects in the backflow region of HEMPT or HET, is a common problem as the material properties of the erosion products of silver, e. g., silver oxides, differs strongly from pure silver.
A Langmuir Probe (LP) is used to obtain information about the plasma plume at a specific position on the S/C surface. The ion flux density is the quantity of interest, also plasma potential and electron temperature can be derived from measured voltage-current characteristics. The energy distribution function of charged particles is determined by a retarding potential analyzer (RPA). Here, the ions that reach the surface are the species of interest. Each of the three plasma sensors, ES, RPA and LP, requires a dedicated measurement electronics, together with a common control and S/C interface, which are combined in an E-Box.
A proto flight H/W will be developed, built and qualified based on the EM developed in the GSTP activity GT17-144 ?Development of a flight Electric Propulsion Diagnostic Package (EPDP) for EP satellite Platforms?. The H/W should be developed taking into account the ECSS and QA/PA procedures for the envisioned flight opportunity Heinrich-Hertz satellite. This flight opportunity will be the first HEMP thruster flight and using EPDP thus flight would give the valuble information about the interaction this electric propulsion system with the satellite/SC.
The following tasks are forseen:
    • Design of the PFM with high relability parts, compliant with the ECSS and QA/PA procedures.
    • Manufacturing of the PFM compliant with the ECSS and QA/PA procedures.
Verification, validation and qualification of the QM/FM.
Application Domain
Generic Technologies
Technology Domain
19 - Propulsion
Competence Domain
7-Propulsion, Space Transportation and Re-entry Vehicles
Initial TRL
Target TRL
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