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Design of a spacecraft integration and test facility

AuthorLiggett, William; Handiboe, Jon; Theus, Eugene; Hartka, Ted; Navid, Hadi;
KeywordsBenchmarking; Design; Human resource management; NASA; Probes; Test facilities; Parker Engineering
AbstractThe Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) is dedicated to solving critical challenges as set forth by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense. JHU/APL participates fully in the nation s formulation of space science and exploration priorities, providing the needed science, engineering, and technology, including the production and operation of unique spacecraft, instruments, and subsystems. Built in 1983, JHU/APL s spacecraft integration and test facility has supported numerous successful missions ranging from the first, GEOSAT-A, which launched in 1985, to the most recent, Van Allen Probes, which launched in 2012. But even with all of the successful spacecraft developed in the facility, the building was beginning to show its limitations in terms of its ability to support larger, more complex missions. It became apparent in 2008 that additional spacecraft and instrument development facilities were desperately needed in order to support missions such as Solar Probe Plus and other potential new awards. This paper will document the processes and activities associated with the design, development, programming, and construction efforts pertaining to JHU/APL s new state-of-theart, 46,000-square-foot spacecraft and instrument development building, which opened in 2012. It will explore the following: The approach for documenting the positive and negative aspects of existing spacecraft and instrument development facilities at JHU/APL and the benchmarking process for comparisons with other organizations. The approach of identifying layout and work-flow requirements-location, floor plan, employee circulation, ground support equipment development, high bays, mechanical and harness assembly, flight hardware staging, situation rooms, and public viewing. The approach of identifying technical facility requirements-clean-room capabilities (class 10,000 [ISO 7] and 100,000 [ISO 8]), structural testing, and optical calibration. The approach of identifying infrastructure requirements-air handling, power, cooling, lighting, fire suppression, redundancy, and security for classified missions. Relationship management among JHU/APL Space Department staff, architects, and construction managers. Quality reviews and monitoring techniques during construction. Testing and lessons learned It is hoped that this paper will assist others in navigating the overwhelming process of design, development, and construction of similar facilities and serve as a resource to ensure the success of future spacecraft missions.
Year of Publication2014
Journal28th Space Simulation Conference - Extreme Environments: Pushing the Boundaries
Number of Pages
Date Published