SwRI adds space system integration facility to HQ

12-Apr-2022

According to one industry forecast, nearly 12,000 small satellites will be placed in orbit between 2018 and 2030, an average of nearly 1,000 small satellites annually

SwRI adds space system integration facility to HQ

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has added a 74,000 sqft space system integration facility to its San Antonio headquarters. The facility can help customers design, assemble and test spacecraft, particularly small satellites for emerging “new space” applications, including support for the commercial and US Department of Defense arenas. The building is scheduled for completion in June 2022.

The building includes nearly 20,000 sqft of integration facilities, including a range of cleanroom facilities. The building houses two ISO 5, super clean facilities, the equivalent of class 100 facilities allowing 100 airborne particles per cubic foot, and two ISO 6, class 1,000 cleanrooms. The integration facilities also feature two ISO 7, class 10,000 cleanrooms and two ISO 8, class 100,000 high-bay cleanrooms.

In addition, the building houses a nearly 11,000 sqft environmental testing facility including a thermal vacuum chamber capable of testing multiple spacecraft at once, a shielded electromagnetic interference enclosure and a high-decibel acoustic test chamber.

According to one industry forecast, nearly 12,000 small satellites will be placed in orbit between 2018 and 2030, an average of nearly 1,000 small satellites annually.

“After 40 years as one of the leading space science and engineering programs, SwRI now offers a new state-of-the-art spacecraft assembly, integration and test facility, designed for working with the latest launch providers,” said Steve Diamond, Senior Programme Manager, SwRI. “Using digital design and design-to-manufacturing (D2M) processes, we can rapidly field mission prototypes, then collaborate with industry to meet low-Earth orbit (LEO) constellation production requirements. Our work with emerging launch providers allows us to create a unique capability for deploying smallsat assets using launch campaigns measured in days instead of months.”

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“Our digital design ethos supports the integration of mobile launch capabilities and scaled serial production,” Diamond said. “The building design supports multiple levels of security, accommodating multiple programs and customers in parallel.”