Working with NASA to develop a rapid solution for pre-launch particle counting in a rocket payload bay
Satellites and other space payloads are built under clean room conditions. Once loaded onto the launch vehicle, it is still necessary to monitor the cleanliness in the payload bay, to ensure that the equipment remains free from particulate contamination that might cause malfunctions in critical parts of the system.
Design and build a portable protection system for a standard safe area particle counter that could be used on the launch pad, and area which was classified as a Class I Div 2 environment
- As this was installed close to the payload bay of the rocket and was to be removed just prior to launch, the solution needed to be lightweight.
- Space is a premium on the launch pad, so the system needed a very small footprint
- The particle counter and the sampling probe were working in real-time sampling inside the payload bay, and transmitting data back to the control area, hence the system required multiple interconnections, including power & ethernet.
- The customer needed a comprehensive solution in short time to meet the programme schedule
- Collaboration between our channel partner, the customer and our engineering and certification departments yielded a design inside 7 days
- The resulting small, lightweight purged & pressurized custom enclosure was also built in a very short time. Enclosure dimensions were 305x305x305mm (12”x12”x12”) and it weighed less than 4.5kg (10lb)
- Type Z purge and pressurization system was incorporated, providing simple and fast purging to the enclosure
- The system was used at a live launch within 5 weeks from intial discussions with Expo
Expo Products and Services
- Custom enclosure design & manufacture
- Type Z purge system & relief valve
- Expo Engineering & Consultancy support
Image courtesy of NASA/Daniel Casper - http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=67644