Explore Our Lab Spaces

CUA has 3,400 sq. ft. of laboratory floor space as well as a 300 sq. ft. cleanroom.  Laboratory facilities are accompanied by a wide range of equipment, diagnostics, vacuum chambers, and chemical processing hardware.  A machine shop equipped with lathes and a CNC-mill enables CUA’s ability to fabricate hardware in-house for rapid prototype testing.  Additionally, CUA has facilities use agreements in place with some specialized University of Illinois laboratories that can be accessed with scheduled availability.

Electric Propulsion Lab

Plasma Systems Lab

Chemical Systems Lab

Computational Facilities

Cleanrooms

Electric Propulsion Laboratory

The CUA facilities provide the necessary pumping capacity, calibrated laboratory diagnostics, and analysis capabilities for micropropulsion efforts. Program specific hardware can be added to the systems already in place. A 0.8 m3 vacuum tank is CUA’s largest of 5 vacuum tanks. A turbomolecular pump backed by a mechanical pumping system allow chamber pressures on the order of 1 micro-Torr. An advanced Watts pendulum thrust stand is placed into this vacuum chamber and has been well characterized with ± 2% accuracy in the milli-Newton continuous thrust range and 8 micro-Newton-s impulse bit capability. A modern LabView system is installed and utilized for data acquisition and thrust stand damping. The laboratory has various power supplies, pressure sensors, flow meters, and controllers for propellant feed and space environment characterization.

Plasma Systems Laboratory

CUA’s plasma systems laboratory facilities enable the ability to perform experimental efforts completely in-house. The company has a wide variety of plasma discharge equipment, diagnostics (electronic and optical), multi-kW power supplies, as well as vacuum tanks and systems for sub-atmospheric plasma testing. A modern LabView system is installed and utilized for data acquisition. Additionally, the laboratory has pressure sensors, flow meters, and controllers for propellant feed and environmental characterization.

Chemical Systems Laboratory

The chemical systems laboratory at CUA allows for testing of a variety of technologies based upon chemical reactions. These include bi- and mono-propellant thrusters, chemical laser technologies, and associated feed systems. The laboratory is equipped with pressure sensors, flow meters, and controllers for characterization of the chemical systems. A modern LabView system is installed and utilized for data acquisition. Additionally, the laboratory has a fume hood, chemical storage cabinets, and appropriate ventilation. Titration equipment is frequently used for analysis of mixtures. Existing, hardware, ovens, and other systems are used for the creation of catalysts.

Computational Facilities

CUA has two in-house cluster machines (64-core and 144-core/288-thread) for its high performance computing (HPC) needs.

Cleanrooms

For its spacecraft and spacecraft subsystem assembly programs, CUA has a dual cleanroom facility.  The inner cleanroom is 185 sq. ft. ISO 5 (Class 100) with an outer entry cleanroom that is 115 sq. ft. ISO 6 (Class 1,000).