INTEGRATION CLEAN ROOM
Testing and integration of space vehicles or components must be carried out in clean rooms. Clean rooms are used in the space industry to protect the various components of satellites from contamination. Some of them are compromised by the slightest particle deposited on their surface, such as solar panels or camera lenses. Others are so delicate that it is literally impossible to clean them without damaging them.
A cleanroom is an enclosure designed to achieve low levels of contamination, as well as having strictly controlled environmental parameters such as the amount of particles in the air, temperature, humidity, airflow, internal pressure and lighting.
The air entering the cleanroom passes through filters that retain as many particles as possible. In addition, people entering the cleanroom must first pass through a sticky mat to remove dust from footwear and wear dust-free gowns, elastic head and shoe covers, gloves and a face mask.
Cleanrooms are rated according to the maximum amount of suspended particles that are admissible inside them. Thus an ISO category 8 room allows a maximum of 29,000 particles larger than or equal to 5 mm in size and a maximum of 3.5 x 106 particles larger than 0.5 mm per cubic metre.
The Space Environment Testing Laboratory (LEAE) of the University Institute "Ignacio Da Riva" has a cleanroom with ISO category 5. This means that it allows a maximum of 29 particles larger than 5 mm and 3500 particles larger than 0.5 mm per cubic metre. To illustrate what this means, the concentration of 5 mm particles in an ISO 5 room is one million times lower than in the open air.