The present work reports the experimental characterization of a Hall Effect thruster with a nominal power of 95 W developed in Centrospazio. Up to now this class of low power thrusters has not been deeply studied, in fact, only recently there is a great interest to mini and micro satellites that ask for thruster subsystem with restricted requirements on mass, power and volume. For this reason, in this thesis, a detailed theoretical analysis of thruster performance has been carried out. The experiment has been prepared, with a special attention to the planning of the test campaign. The manufacturing of the thruster has been achieved: the compact design presents technological difficulties that are not present in bigger thrusters. The preparation of the experimental apparatus has been reported.
The course of this activities allows to achieve the ignition of the thruster, to identify problems linked to the characteristic of prototype and to record data that allow to estimate the preliminary performance.
Then data have been analyzed and an electric characterization of termoionic cathode has been carried out.
A preliminary design of equipment, useful to carry on the experimental campaign and to collect more data, has been present at the end of this work.