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NASA Goddard spacecraft cleanroom goes green

rticles per cubic foot. But the MMS cleanroom will have no more than 10,000 particles per cubic foot. These particles are small, too, measuring less than half a micron in diameter or about half the width of a human hair.

Although cleanrooms are ubiquitous in manufacturing and research facilities, the MMS facility stands out because it features state-of-the-art technology that not only filters air to remove contaminants but also performs this job with 30 percent less energy under low-load conditions.

"This effort will save NASA tens of thousands of dollars in electric bills each year," Richardson said, "and will pave the way for the Goddard team to revolutionize the way we run our facilities."

Planning began nearly two years ago and presented challenges for the team, said Scott Clough of Libration Systems Management, Inc., a Goddard contractor who led the facility's design. "The biggest requirement was space. The MMS mission needed a single location from which to assemble the four spacecraft. If we hadn't found a suitable location, the mission would have had to use four different locations, requiring technicians to move equipment around. This would have slowed down spacecraft assembly. With one large space we were able to save money and time."

The size of the MMS cleanroom is notable, second only to Goddard's other cleanroom one of the world's largest -- where technicians are assembling the James Webb Space Telescope.

For the energy misers, though, the size requirements made their jobs harder. The larger the facility, the more energy it uses. "Cleanrooms aren't very efficient," says project manager Bill Bond, of QinetiQ North America, a contractor that operates cleanroom facilities for Goddard. "Airflow is always moving, and that takes energy."

Energy Savings and Flexibility

The team worked hard to build in energy savings into everything they could. One of the largest aids to efficiency comes from

Contact: Susan Hendrix
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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