New Integration Facility is Open: Say Hello to our New Clean Room

This year is going to be an extra busy one for launch – we’ve got so many upcoming missions, we had to upgrade our integration facilities! We are excited that our new cleanroom and integration facility in Auburn, WA (about 30 miles south of our headquarters in Seattle) is complete. We put a lot of extras into it to ensure our customers have an exceptional experience with their spacecraft.

The dimensions of our new digs:

  • Cleanroom is 32-ft x 37-ft with a 26-ft ceiling
  • Airlock is 16-ft x 14-ft with a 17-ft ceiling
  • Gowning room is 10-ft x 10-ft

The cleanroom and air lock are certified as ISO 8 per ISO 1644-1 or Class 100,000. The independent certification provider measures how many particles of different sizes are in a given volume of air at any given time, how many times per hour the total volume of air is changed, and the pressure differential between cleanroom areas the external warehouse. During the certification process, each of these parameters are checked against the standard. This is Spaceflight’s first certified cleanroom.

The cleanroom features a recirculating air system, which means all the air supplied to the cleanroom, with the exception of a small amount of air to and from the HVAC system, is returned back into the air handler through a series of return ducts and back through the pre- and HEPA-filters. This makes for the cleanest of cleanrooms with better humidity and temperature control performance characteristics.

Some pics of construction:

 

The floor had to be ESD certified…this took extra time and care.

If you’ve noticed when walking on a certain type types of floors or on carpet wearing certain types of socks you get a shock when touching metal frame or door handle. That shock, which results from your body and the object being touched having different electric potential, has been found to be devastating to space flight hardware as that shock can render sensitive computers and components useless. We have to take steps to ensure personnel clothing, gloves, and skin are kept at the same electric potential as the hardware they’re working near or on.

Normally this is done using an ESD wrist strap, which is an electrically conductive bracelet with a wire connected to a grounding point on the hardware or working surface. In our cleanroom, the tile and tile adhesive are impregnated with conductive material. As long as the operator wears appropriate footwear and their feet are touching the floor, any static charge is wicked away from the person’s body, clothes, and gloves back into the earth-reference electrical ground. The floor, hardware, and select tables are connected to the same earth-reference electrical ground point to ensure all are at the same electric potential. Elimination of wrist straps, and thus the physical connection of one’s wrist to the hardware, allows operator’s hands and arms to remain free to operate tooling and focus on the hardware.

Then we had to install 15′ wide roll up doors.

Door installation.

 

The freestanding bridge crane, has a capacity of 3-tons or 6,000-lb, with a maximum hook height of 22.5-ft. It has a microspeed setting for the hoist (up and down) at 0.4 inches/second at minimum. The minimum trolley/bridge (North/South/East/West) speeds set to 1.3 inches/second. Each motor is equipped with a VFD which gives us the ability to slow ramp to speed, the harder you press the button the faster the crane goes, allowing us to control speed to make critical mates or move hardware across the room efficiently. The maximum speeds are on the order of 65 feet/minute.

Cleanroom occupation and start of SSO-A integration.

 

Where the magic happens.

 

We’re very excited about our new facility. Stay tuned for a video tour this spring!