A "White Room"—also called a "clean room"—is a highly clean enclosed area where satellites and rocket parts are assembled and tested prior to launching. White rooms provide the necessary controlled environment to ensure that a satellite is ready for launch. Instruments onboard satellites are very sensitive to dust and degrade when exposed to oil or humidity, so a White Room maintains a constant temperature and humidity, eliminates dust, and protects the satellite during its development, construction, and testing. Typically, White Rooms are also designed to guard against electromagnetic hazards. For example, the floor of a White Room might be constructed to avoid a buildup of static electricity. These precautions ensure that electronic and electrical testing of electrical systems can be carried out.
Technicians and workers wear protective gear at all times inside a White Room. Everyone entering the room must wear a "bunny suit"—special coveralls, hoods, boots, gloves, and masks. This special clothing is worn to eliminate dirt and dust from clothing, avoid flakes and hair from the scalp, and keep the satellite away from exhaled breath. The gear helps protect the sensitive flight hardware from particles that could impede performance.
There are many types of White Rooms around the world, most of which are located at launch sites and at locations where satellites are built. The Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility is one of the Kennedy Space Center's many White Room facilities. It is used for assembly, testing, encapsulation , ordnance work, propellant loading, and spacecraft pressurization. At another site, the Multi-Payload Processing Facility (MPPF), non-hazardous payloads go through their final assembly in preparation for launch. This includes installation of such things as solar panels, antennas, and other items shipped separately to the launch site. During a payload's stay at the MPPF, stand-alone systems testing and payload functional testing with payload-unique ground checkout equipment are conducted to ensure the payload is ready for launch.
At Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pads 39A and 39B, an environmentally controlled White Room that can accommodate up to six people is joined to the space shuttle orbiter's hatch prior to launch. It is here that the astronaut flight crew is assisted in entering the orbiter. The White Room—located at the end of the Orbiter Access Arm—remains in an extended position until about seven minutes before launch to provide an emergency exit for the crew. In an emergency, the White Room can be mechanically or manually repositioned in fifteen seconds.
An enormous White Room is located at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. This facility houses the 37,000-cubic-meter (48,360-cubic-yard) High Bay Clean Room, which is used to integrate and test space hardware. The largest of its kind anywhere, this White Room plays an important role in the servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronauts for several Hubble servicing missions trained in this room. Using the White Room's very precise mechanical and electrical simulators, astronauts practiced installing actual Hubble hardware.
see also Launch Sites (volume 3); Rockets (volume 3); Space Centers (volume 3).
John F. Kross
Boston University Terrier Satellite: The Clean Room. Boston University. <http://web.bu.edu/satellite/spacecraft/cleanroom.html>.
Hubble Space Systems Development and Integration (SSDIF) Facility. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. <http://microgravity.nasa.gov/ISSLAB.html>.
John F. Kennedy Space Center. <http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/>.
"White Room." Space Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 21, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/white-room
"White Room." Space Sciences. . Retrieved January 21, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/white-room
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.