Integrated Processing Facility

IPF

 

The Integrated Processing Facility (IPF), formerly the Payload Preparation Room, was built for the Space Shuttle Program at a cost in excess of $300M. The building was designed to process three shuttle-class payloads simultaneously in 10K (ISO 7) class clean conditions. Today, payload processing activities are occurring on a regular basis.


What sets this building apart from other Satellite Processing facilities are a combination of 3 major capabilities:

  1. 1.Size. The IPF provides almost 500,000 cubic feet of cleanroom space. It is large enough for any payload.

  2. 2.RF protection. The IPF is located in a very RF quiet location and the heavily reinforced concrete & steel construction provides excellent RF attenuation in all processing areas. In addition, Processing Cell 3 is specially designed to further provide 80-100dB of RF attenuation from 0-80Ghz when its RF doors are installed. It is a RF shielded building within a building.

  3. 3.Fully redundant and independent HVAC and filtering. Each major clean-room area (Transporter Airlock, Highbay, Cell 1, Cell 2 and Cell 3) in the IPF sports its own fully redundant HVAC and filtering systems. As a result, each cleanroom area is isolated from the others providing faster recovery and allows operations and conditions in one area to never affect the others. This feature also greatly improves reliability for our customer’s demanding requirements.


Finding your way around such a large complex building can be a little difficult. To aid our potential customers, here are a few bits of information that might help. The designations given to each level of this multi-story building are all in reference to East Pad Deck (level 100). Since the Transporter Airlock entrance to the IPF is 36 feet below the East Pad Deck, it is designated as Level 64. Each area of the building is therefore referred to based on its own elevation relative to the East Pad Deck. The most commonly referenced areas of the building are Level 64, 69, 79, 89 and 101.  Within each of the three Processing Cells are six platform levels each ten feet above the previous. They are referred to as Cell x (1, 2 or 3), level (69 floor level, 79, 89, 99, 109, 119 or 129).  Customer storage space is abundant within the facility.


The building is best understood as two buildings built adjacent to each other. The North side is the Processing (Clean-room) building and the South side is for support equipment, HVAC, Communications, Security and Administration (office space). Level 89 is the only level that exists at a common elevation between the North Processing and South Admin & Support buildings, it therefore is the only level providing access between the two. All the customer admin space exists on level 89 and 101 within the South half of the IPF.

IPF Exterior - This image depicts the IPF's south and west sides.

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Copyright © 1999 Spaceport Systems International, L.P.

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The IPF is one of the most capable payload processing facilities ever constructed. The IPF can also support small booster and upper stage processing and administrative activities. SSI has extensively upgraded and modernized the support systems since first leasing the building. We have spent many years renovating and optimizing to take full advantage of the building’s design capability while reducing operational costs.


One of the many improvements was to install a new digital control system to fully automate environmental control and monitoring.   Experience with this control system designed by Automated Logic Corporation has repeatedly proven that clean room conditions can be maintained to very close tolerances, with minimal operator intervention. The IPF’s Processing and Technical Support areas can accommodate even the most auspicious booster/satellite processing scenarios.  During processing of the EELV programs the IPF has maintained an operational Class 1000 (ISO 6) clean environment.


The illustration below shows  a cut-away view of the IPF from the Northeast. The magenta text balloons are links to the primary Processing areas available to our customers within the IPF.

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