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Preparing a vacuum chamber for testing in ESA’s Propulsion Laboratory.
One of a suite of technical laboratories in ESA’s Technical Centre, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the Propulsion Laboratory investigates methods of controlling the motion of spacecraft once they have reached space.
The Lab has a great deal of experience with highly-efficient electrical propulsion systems, such as ion thrusters, but as these work only in a vacuum the team has a set of vacuum chambers to recreate space down on Earth.