SaxaVord’s ‘clean room’ facility set to provide ‘unrivalled capability’ 

SaxaVord is developing a satellite payload processing facility (PPF) – to give it the “commercial edge” in the space sector. 

The PPF, which is being developed with space engineering specialists Plastron UK, will include two “clean rooms” and an airlock.

It will allow SaxaVord to host a wider range of satellites by providing enhanced “hazardous handling capabilities” for space hardware.

SaxaVord’ deputy chief executive Scott Hammond said the cleanrooms will give the spaceport “unrivalled capability” to host satellites of up to 1,000kg.

“No other spaceport will have this capability,” he added.

“This means we can host a multitude of different satellite sizes and that we are not restricted in our offering to the industry.

“The work on reducing clean down times is also a major part of our strategy to reduce CO2 emissions, showing how we can reduce our carbon footprint by collaborating on innovative solutions with other industry players and academics.

“We are delighted to be working with Plastron on this project.”

The spaceport team hope to achieve the UK’s first orbital satellite launch later this year.

It also has its sights set on becoming the first facility for launch vehicles with “advanced payloads” using  propellants including hydrazine and LMP 103S.

This programme will involve Plastron’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. system, which will ensure the clean rooms are maintained at “ISO8” – a measure of very low particle concentration.

The system is reportedly able to clean the facility to the required level in 15 minutes – helping to reduce downtime when flight hardware is unpacked.

Plastron’s Chris Smith said: “Using knowledge gleaned from performing launch operations throughout the world, we have designed the most advanced payload processing facility available for the ‘new space’ sector.

“The facility meets all expected European requirements for safe and efficient working environments for space hardware handling, and can tolerate all the hazardous risks associated with preparing payloads for launch.

“We are very excited to be working with SaxaVord to push this initiative forward.”


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