Modular Cleanroom Boosts Lunar Mission
- Saturday, 01 February 2014
Simplex Isolation Systems developed a modular softwall cleanroom for the LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) mission, launched in September 2013 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The LADEE satellite and the fifth-stage booster went through final pre-launch preparations in Simplex’s Fontana, CA-based facility. The onsite logistics of designing the cleanroom were handled by Filtration Technology, a Simplex partner based in Greensboro, NC. After final assembly, the satellite and fifth stage were moved out of the enclosure and placed atop a Minotaur V rocket for launch.
The satellite will orbit the Moon, gathering detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface, and environmental influences on lunar dust.
“We relied on the enclosure to maintain the integrity of the environment and control dust and contamination,” said Sam Thompson, a NASA engineer. The enclosure created an ISO 7 environment, where contamination is not to exceed 10,000 particles per 1 cubic foot, 0.5 micron and larger.
The modular enclosure was built as two separate rooms. Each portion was mounted on industrial casters so that the enclosure could come apart in the middle, allowing the satellite/ booster assembly to be moved into place for final preparation. The room was then reassembled around the satellite.
The Simplex enclosure measured 15 × 24' and was 20 feet from floor to ceiling. The softwall panels were made using Polysim 509, a transparent, propietary Simplex material.
“We will disassemble it and store it for future use,” said Thompson. “The modular design means we can take it down and move it to another area for re-use in future projects, and since it comes apart into two rooms, we also have the advantage of using just one room when we need to do so.”