Pendulum thrust stands are used to measure the thrust of electric propulsion systems for spacecraft. A thruster is mounted on a pendulum and operated, and the pendulum displacement due to thrust is measured. In this type of measurement, the pendulum is also affected by nonlinear tensions due to wiring and piping that deteriorate the accuracy of the measurement. This influence cannot be ignored in high power electric propulsion systems because complicated piping and thick wirings are required. Therefore, to reduce the influence of tension due to wires and tubes, we developed an inverted pendulum-type thrust stand with pipes and wirings as springs. In this paper, we first derive the design guidelines for spring-shaped wires; the necessary conditions for sensitivity, responsivity, spring shape, and electric wire were formulated. Next, a thrust stand was designed and fabricated based on these guidelines, and the performance of the stand was evaluated through calibration and thrust measurements using a 1 kW-class magneto-plasma-dynamics thruster. The sensitivity of the thrust stand was 17 mN/V, the normalized standard deviation of the variation of the measured values owing to the structure of the thrust stand was 1.8 × 10−3, and the thermal drift during the long-time operation was ∼4.5 × 10−3 mN/s.

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