Airbus opens new satellite facility
Airbus has opened what it claims is Europe’s most advanced satellite integration and space technology centre at its Friedrichshafen site.
Airbus’ Friedrichshafen site has opened what it claims is Europe’s most advanced satellite integration and space technology centre, known as the Integrated Technology Centre (ITC). The ITC, which triples the area of clean room space to 4,200m2, is dedicated to building satellites, probes, space instruments and experimental technologies. The centre took two years to build at a total cost of approximately €45m.
The centrepiece of the ITC is its large clean room. The final integration of the satellites takes place under clean room conditions of various ‘cleanliness classes’ (from ISO 8 to ISO 5) in facilities totalling approximately 2,100m2, of which 400m2 are dedicated to ISO 5. Extensive air conditioning and filter systems circulate an air volume of 900,000m3 up to 60 times an hour, which not only ensures the required levels of cleanliness but also a consistently elevated air pressure, in addition to controlling humidity and temperature.
Four 150t seismic blocks ‘decouple’ special integration tables from the building and ensure a completely vibration-free environment for the installation of optical instruments. A computer-controlled fan and filter matrix on the south side of the clean room generates air-flow profiles that can be adjusted to the occupancy of the room. This concept allows different clean room classes to be created in a single hall with no disruptive partitions or curtains.
In the adjacent check-out rooms, technicians can conduct a broad array of electrical function tests without having to enter the clean room area. All computer systems are housed in their own air-conditioned, noise-insulated racks.
The two wings of the ITC provide a further 1,100m2 of integration and laboratory space for component manufacturing and technical areas. The first floor of the building’s west wing houses a conference zone and a multifunctional showroom and information space, whose large panoramic windows provide a unique view of the flight hardware production process.
The first projects to move into the new centre are four Sentinel satellites for Europe's Copernicus environment and security programme, the joint European-Japanese EarthCARE Earth observation satellites and two 12.3m-long planar radar antennas.