Plasma Chamber Test Facility

The INAF-IAPS plasma chamber is a facility capable to reproduce in laboratory a large volume of plasma with ionospheric parameters and is particularly suitable to perform both scientific and technological tests on payloads designed to operate in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space plasma. The apparatus has been early designed in the frame of the Tethered Satellite System project, and was extensively used since 1985 for experimental work in support of plasma and electrodynamic space experiments.

The plasma chamber performs studies for the following applications:

  • plasma compatibility and functional tests on payloads envisioned to operate in the ionosphere (e.g. sensors onboard satellites, exposed to the external plasma environment);
  • calibration/testing of plasma diagnostic sensors;
  • characterization and compatibility tests on components for space applications (e.g. optical elements, harness, satellite paints, photo-voltaic cells, etc.);
  • experiments on satellite charging in a space plasma environment;
  • tests on active experiments which use ion, electron or plasma sources (ion thrusters, hollow cathodes, field effect emitters, plasma contactors, etc.);
  • possible studies relevant to fundamental space plasma physics.

The following CSES Qualification Model instruments have been tested in the Plasma Chamber:

 

                                                     

                                                     The INAF/IAPS Plasma Chamber facility                   Sketch of plasma chamber magnetic coil system