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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Lyon King

Committee Member 1

Jason Sommerville

Committee Member 2

Kurt Terhune

Committee Member 3

Wayne Weaver


This paper covers the design, development, and testing of a null-type inverted pendulum thrust stand intended to measure the thrust of a low-power Hall-effect thruster. The calibration system and control algorithm are described along with the atmosphere testing conducted prior to testing in vacuum. This thrust stand was tested in vacuum with an Aurora Hall-effect thruster, and the performance of the calibration procedure, control loops, and thrust drift were evaluated. The thrust stand showed a relative calibration uncertainty of 1.242%. The overall uncertainty of the thrust measurement at a nominal 19 mN operating point was shown to be 0.411 mN, or 2.16%. Temperature was proven to be a large factor in stable-power thrust drift.