AER Aerospazio Tecnologie S.r.l.

Aerospazio Tecnologie was founded in 2000 with the aim of providing testing and engineering services in the fields of vacuum technology and Electric Space Propulsion to European industries and R&D organisations.

In 2003, the first vacuum test facility was employed for the endurance test of the RIT-22 thruster proposed by Astrium (now part of Airbus D&S) for the ESA Bepi-Colombo mission to Mercury. During the past 12 years, AEROSPAZIO has increased its facilities and provided test and R&D services to some of the major Electric Propulsion (EP) European Primes. The company has a specific expertise in long term testing (several thousand hours of endurance testing) as well as in accurate performance measurements (plume propagation and operational characterisation).

AEROSPAZIO is presently engaged in:

  • the life test of the HEMP thruster in the frame of Thales/DLR programmes;
  • an extensive set of test campaigns performed for the European industry in the frame of ESA and
  • national programs.

Presently, the AEROSPAZIO technical team consists of 15 staff members with different profiles and expertise in the fields of Electric Propulsion, automatic controls, telecommunications, electronics.

AEROSPAZIO aims to be a leader in the field of EP testing services. It employs a wide range of test facilities (two of the four largest available in Europe) and diagnostic tools among the most advanced.

It is therefore AEROSPAZIO interest to maintain its leadership supporting programmes aimed at improving the European EP leadership in all the key technological fields.

Contribution to technical work

AEROSPAZIO will be involved in the experimental campaigns and the test standardisation programme.

The standardisation effort (in terms of test set-up, diagnostics and procedures) will be aimed at providing the same test environment and standard measurement system to each thruster under testing. The measurements performed with the diagnostics tools on the same thruster shall be repeatable with a defined accuracy in each different test facility available.

While a sufficient standardisation of the diagnostic tools has already been achieved by AEROSPAZIO and the companion’s cooperating institutions for HET and Radiofrequency Ion thrusters in the frame of ESA programmes (RP01, RP02), the extension of such standardisation to HEMP thrusters will require additional efforts, especially when high power thrusters are concerned.

In this regard, several aspects must be taken into account e.g. the high thermal load, the local plasma density, the sputtering rate of materials.

As a result a number of improvement on the testing tools will be designed and implemented so as to extend operation of standard diagnostics to HEMP high power levels.

Additional R&D activity will be performed by Aerospazio in the field of the EMI investigations. The HEMP thruster has been already subjected to an EMI test campaign in the USA years ago. The conditions of application of available results will be analysed in order to design the future EMI campaign on high power thrusters of the HEMP family.

Aerospazio Tecnologie S.r.l.
Via Provinciale Nord, 42A
53040 Rapolano Terme SI