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360 Degree View of Deep Impact in the Clean Room


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Instructions: Click and drag anywhere in the image to view the clean room at different angles.

What is a clean room and why is it important to use one when you build spacecraft?

In a clean room, the air flow is controlled, filtered and directed to remove particles and dust (about one half a micron in size) that could cause harm to the spacecraft and instruments. Think of it as a surgical operating room in which the spacecraft are patients that must be protected from germs. Humidity and temperature are also controlled. Where do particles come from? As you stand still wearing ordinary clothing, you shed about 100,000 particles per minute. Once you start to move around you shed many times more.

This is the largest clean room at Ball and other spacecraft are being assembled in other sections. During early construction, the clean room is kept at 100,000 maximum allowable particles per cubic meter. Now that both spacecraft are nearly complete, certain parts, such as the instruments, are kept at 10,000 maximum allowable particles per cubic meter. To keep extra particles out, all personnel must wear gowns, paper boots, head caps and masks when close (to within 2 meters) of the spacecraft. And sorry - no note taking! Paper and pencils shed particles too so they are not allowed.

This 360 degree view of the clean room at Ball Aerospace shows the flyby spacecraft and impactor as they were being assembled earlier in the year. Starting at the wall and moving to the right we see the internal parts of the flyby spacecraft including the avionics and propulsion portions. The metal "bumpers" at the bottom protect the star trackers during construction. Continuing to the right we see work being done on the external housing for the flyby spacecraft's internal parts. Moving further right we see the parts of the impactor on an assembly table.

CREDIT: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.


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