SwRI’s New Space Systems Integration Facility Supports Small Satellite Development

SwRI’s New Space Systems Integration Facility Supports Small Satellite Development

Press release from: Southwest Research Institute
Posted: Monday April 4th 2022

The Southwest Research Institute has added a new 74,000 square foot space systems integration facility to its San Antonio headquarters. The SwRI facility can respond quickly to customers who need to design, assemble and test spacecraft, especially small satellites for emerging “new space” applications, including support for commercial and departmental arenas American Defense. The building is expected to be completed in June 2022.

According to an industry forecast, almost 12,000 small satellites – defined in this case as satellites with a mass of less than 500 kilograms – will be placed in orbit between 2018 and 2030, an average of almost 1,000 small satellites per year. . SwRI is a trusted leader for this rapidly changing industry, delivering technological advancements and innovation.

“After 40 years as one of the premier space science and engineering programs, SwRI now offers a new state-of-the-art spacecraft assembly, integration and test facility designed to working with the latest launch vendors,” said Steve Diamond, a senior program manager in SwRI’s space science and engineering division. “Using digital design and design-to-manufacture (D2M) processes, we can rapidly field mission prototypes and then work with industry to meet production requirements for the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation. ). Our work with emerging launch vendors allows us to create a unique capability to deploy smallsat assets using launch campaigns measured in days instead of months.

The new building includes nearly 20,000 square feet 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 1000 cleanrooms. Integration facilities include also two ISO 7, class 10,000 clean rooms with 5 ton overhead cranes and two high bay ISO 8, class 100,000 clean rooms equipped with 7.5 ton overhead cranes.

Additionally, the new building houses a nearly 11,000 square foot environmental testing facility that includes a thermal vacuum chamber capable of testing multiple spacecraft at once, an EMI shielded enclosure, and a test chamber high decibel acoustics.

“Our digital design philosophy supports the integration of mobile launch capabilities and large-scale mass production,” Diamond said. “The building design supports multiple levels of security, accommodating multiple programs and clients in parallel.”

SwRI offers complete vertical mission capabilities in a single organization, including design, manufacture, test, launch, and operational support. Additionally, SwRI has expertise in scientific instruments, data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and autonomous vehicles in all fields.

For more information, visit https://www.swri.org/industries/space-engineering.


About SwRI:
SwRI is an independent, not-for-profit applied research and development organization based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 3,000 employees and an annual research volume of nearly $726 million. Southwest Research Institute and SwRI are registered trademarks in the US Patent and Trademark Office. For more information, please visit newsroom.swri.org Where www.swri.org.

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