A brand new cleanroom

A cleanroom is a closed area where the air contains very few dust particles. A speck of dust in a switch or circuit might prevent a spacecraft from working properly. While there is no dust in space, it is important that there should be none when assembling and testing the space hardware.

Hence, in a cleanroom, the air dust content, temperature and humidity are highly controlled in order to avoid contamination of sensitive equipment. A minimum level of overpressure is also permanently maintained. This explains why only one door can be opened at a time and why there is an air lock at the entrance of the cleanroom.

Cleanrooms are classified in different categories based on the number and the size of particles allowed per volume of air. Antwerp Space’s cleanroom is ISO 8. This means that for a volume of 1 m3, there might for instance be a maximum of 29,300 particles larger than 5 micrometre. This is ten times less than in a normal room!

Furthermore, special measures have to be observed by staff working in a cleanroom. Not only is the access restricted to authorized and properly instructed personnel, but technicians, engineers and visitors alike also have to wear a special outfit. Depending on the cleanroom’s standards, they may have to put on gloves, facemasks, cleanroom hats, shoe covers or special boots.

Humidity (water content of the air) in cleanrooms is also kept fairly low (around 55 %), and temperature is kept close to 22º C.

The cleanroom is also an ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) protected area. Special measures have been taken to reduce the risk of ElectroStatic Discharge to sensitive electronic components.

When it comes to its dimensions, Antwerp Space’s cleanroom has a ground surface of 100 m2 and a height of 3 m, resulting in a volume of about 300 m3.

Other infrastructure

More than 4 000 m2 of offices, labs and integration rooms.

More than 1000 m2 lab-space for product development, test and integration.

Spacious, well equipped RF lab.

Workshop for:

  • Precision fabrication of semi-rigid coaxial cables

  • Microscopic inspection

  • Prototype assembly, cabling, patches & fixes

  • Series production and assembly