Author Topic: SpaceX use of the SPIF (Spacecraft Processing and Integration Facility)  (Read 77056 times)

Offline Jim

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Thought I would start a thread on this.  I will provide info I have on the SPIF from the past, in addition to photos.

Looks like they are processing the Dragon in one of the integration cells.

Edit/Lar:  The SPIF is attached to the SMAB

Satellite Processing and Integration Facility
Solid Motor Assembly Building
« Last Edit: 08/03/2014 02:51 pm by Lar »

Offline Jim

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Re: Spacex use of the SPIF
« Reply #1 on: 04/19/2014 08:59 pm »
Here is a integration cell being used for STS-44, DSP on an IUS


Offline Jim

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Re: Spacex use of the SPIF
« Reply #2 on: 04/19/2014 09:00 pm »
Here is the SMAB, the SPIF is located in the west side.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2014 09:00 pm by Jim »

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: Spacex use of the SPIF
« Reply #3 on: 04/19/2014 09:13 pm »
Here is the SMAB, the SPIF is located in the west side.

And the acronyms mean...?

Also, if you could say why this is significant for those of us that are unfamiliar with this.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline docmordrid

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Re: Spacex use of the SPIF
« Reply #4 on: 04/19/2014 09:19 pm »
Shuttle/POCC Interface Facility?

Spacecraft Planetary Imaging Facility?
« Last Edit: 04/19/2014 09:25 pm by docmordrid »
DM

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #5 on: 04/19/2014 09:20 pm »
Yeah, if you could add that to the opening post, Jim - that would be helpful.
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Offline mikes

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #6 on: 04/19/2014 09:31 pm »
Satellite Processing and Integration Facility
Solid Motor Assembly Building

Offline wkann

Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #7 on: 04/19/2014 09:33 pm »
SpaceX had to get a good deal on using the SPIF. I cant see them using it otherwise. Compared to how they processed Dragon before in the hanger at SLC-40, there seems to be way more infrastructure in the SPIF than they need -which would just cost more to maintain.

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Online Coastal Ron

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #8 on: 04/19/2014 09:43 pm »
SpaceX had to get a good deal on using the SPIF. I cant see them using it otherwise. Compared to how they processed Dragon before in the hanger at SLC-40, there seems to be way more infrastructure in the SPIF than they need -which would just cost more to maintain.

Ah, so SpaceX is using the SPIF for processing Dragon, which let's them focus their building next to SLC-40 for just Falcon related activities.  Which means they have to transport the Dragon back over to SLC-40 somehow - on a flatbed?
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Offline jabe

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #9 on: 04/19/2014 09:43 pm »
Jim
thanks for the follow up posts ..saves me from doing the research.  Learning stuff every day on here!!
How long would it take to process the dragon there?  Was surprised how close it was to slc-40
jb

Offline Roy_H

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #10 on: 04/19/2014 09:57 pm »
I have to look up these acronyms too. My best guess:

SPIF    Shuttle/POCC Interface Facility
POCC  Payload Operations Control Center


SPIF    Spacecraft Processing and Integration Facility (as per Jim later)

SMAB  Solid Motor Assembly Building

DSP     Deep Space Probe
IUS      Intermediate Upper Stage (and that leads to what other types of upper stages?)


Ahh, I see I am corrected below.
DSP    Defense Support Satellite
IUS     Inertial Upper Stage
« Last Edit: 04/20/2014 05:08 pm by Roy_H »
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Offline A12

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #11 on: 04/19/2014 10:08 pm »
DSP Defense Support Satellite, IUS Inertial Upper Stage

Offline Roy_H

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #12 on: 04/19/2014 10:11 pm »
Jim
thanks for the follow up posts ..saves me from doing the research.  Learning stuff every day on here!!
How long would it take to process the dragon there?  Was surprised how close it was to slc-40
jb

Could you provide a map?
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Offline wkann

Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #13 on: 04/19/2014 10:18 pm »
Ah, so SpaceX is using the SPIF for processing Dragon, which let's them focus their building next to SLC-40 for just Falcon related activities.

I thought they did some satellite processing at SLC-40. Maybe they will move all spacecraft processing to the Satellite Processing and Integration Facility now.

Which means they have to transport the Dragon back over to SLC-40 somehow - on a flatbed?

I'm guessing they used a KAMAG to move Dragon since they have already used it with SES.

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Offline ugordan

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #14 on: 04/19/2014 10:20 pm »
Jim
thanks for the follow up posts ..saves me from doing the research.  Learning stuff every day on here!!
How long would it take to process the dragon there?  Was surprised how close it was to slc-40
jb

Could you provide a map?

https://maps.google.com/?ll=28.543317,-80.590824&spn=0.002302,0.004128&t=h&z=19

Online edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #15 on: 04/19/2014 10:24 pm »
Dragon and its trunk appear to be mated in the SPIF image.  Are they subsequently transported in this mated configuration to SLC 40?  Vertical or horizontal during transport?

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Offline Lars_J

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #16 on: 04/19/2014 10:50 pm »
Dragon and its trunk appear to be mated in the SPIF image.  Are they subsequently transported in this mated configuration to SLC 40?  Vertical or horizontal during transport?

 - Ed Kyle

Presumably it is transported vertical. The SpaceX caption to the image below is "Dragon is rotated to be mated with Falcon 9", and it seems to match images from previous Dragon/Falcon matings. Dragon does not appear to go horizontal until it is rotated with the special crane rig and mated with F9.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2014 10:51 pm by Lars_J »

Offline Roy_H

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #17 on: 04/19/2014 11:39 pm »
Jim
thanks for the follow up posts ..saves me from doing the research.  Learning stuff every day on here!!
How long would it take to process the dragon there?  Was surprised how close it was to slc-40
jb

Could you provide a map?

https://maps.google.com/?ll=28.543317,-80.590824&spn=0.002302,0.004128&t=h&z=19
Thanks
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Offline go4mars

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #18 on: 04/19/2014 11:46 pm »
images from previous Dragon/Falcon matings.
Yes, dragons still mate with falcons horizontally.  Makes a loud mix of soprano and baritone.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2014 11:51 pm by go4mars »
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Offline llanitedave

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #19 on: 04/20/2014 04:48 am »
Satellite Processing and Integration Facility
Solid Motor Assembly Building

Thanks.  The only downside to this otherwise wonderful site is all the uncontrolled acronym impacts.
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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #20 on: 04/20/2014 03:22 pm »
Originally, the Shuttle Payload Integration Facility and changed to Spacecraft Processing and Integration Facility after Challenger

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #21 on: 04/20/2014 05:49 pm »
Some old interior shots.  I will get more info when I go back to work

Offline RonM

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #22 on: 04/20/2014 05:57 pm »
How many integration cells are in the SPIF?

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #23 on: 04/20/2014 06:17 pm »
How many integration cells are in the SPIF?


two and a holding cell

Offline Lars_J

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #24 on: 04/20/2014 06:49 pm »
Any word on how much SpaceX is paying for the use of this building? Or is it just a "you pay the upkeep" type of arrangement, like with Pad 39A?

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #25 on: 04/20/2014 06:54 pm »
Any word on how much SpaceX is paying for the use of this building? Or is it just a "you pay the upkeep" type of arrangement, like with Pad 39A?

I believe it would be like 39A.  The NRO is now using the EPF.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2014 07:02 pm by Jim »

Offline manboy

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #26 on: 04/21/2014 02:28 am »
Any word on how much SpaceX is paying for the use of this building? Or is it just a "you pay the upkeep" type of arrangement, like with Pad 39A?

I believe it would be like 39A.  The NRO is now using the EPF.
If that's case than SpaceX is getting a damn good deal.
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Offline Tomness

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Re: Spacex use of the SPIF
« Reply #27 on: 04/21/2014 06:29 am »
Here is a integration cell being used for STS-44, DSP on an IUS

Those technician's in those clean room suits sure do look like Ninjas, talk about security.
Thanks Jim for sharing all this cool spaceflight photos.

Offline newpylong

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #28 on: 04/21/2014 01:02 pm »
What's the other tall building just to the north on Titan III rd?

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #29 on: 04/21/2014 01:33 pm »
What's the other tall building just to the north on Titan III rd?

SMARF.  It was for the TIV SRMUs

Offline b ramsey

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #30 on: 04/21/2014 01:44 pm »
EPF   eastern processing facility      its on Phillips Pkwy And Lighthouse R

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #31 on: 04/21/2014 02:05 pm »
Here is a integration cell being used for STS-44, DSP on an IUS

Those technician's in those clean room suits sure do look like Ninjas, talk about security.
Thanks Jim for sharing all this cool spaceflight photos.
Those are the same suits we wore on the civilian, non-classified side.  They're not for security, they're to minimize contamination to the hardware since humans are the dirtiest things in the room!   Those with facial hair had to wear the face mask parts. 

Back in the day, when I worked at KSC, I knew vaguely that this all existed, but it still took my breath away to finally see photos of it years later.  It was an entire parallel classified universe, not only of the big test stands but of the people.  There was even an alternate me over there! 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/21/2014 02:05 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline terryy

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #32 on: 04/25/2014 02:36 am »
I am still unclear on a couple of points.  Does anyone else use the SPIF?   Or will SpaceX be the only user?  Jim says the NRO is now using the EPF, so was this facility mainly used for national security payloads before and they no longer have a use for it?  Thanks.

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #34 on: 04/25/2014 10:47 am »
So the SMAB became the SPIF?

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #35 on: 04/25/2014 01:35 pm »
I am still unclear on a couple of points.  Does anyone else use the SPIF?   Or will SpaceX be the only user?  Jim says the NRO is now using the EPF, so was this facility mainly used for national security payloads before and they no longer have a use for it?  Thanks.

 I believe it is only Spacex using the facility.  And yes, the DOD moved out.  The NRO has the EPF and the USAF uses the DPF and Astrotech. 

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #36 on: 04/25/2014 01:38 pm »
So the SMAB became the SPIF?

No, the SMAB is the whole building.  The SPIF is in the west bay.  IUS was built up in the east bay.  All the while, Titan still used the high bay for SRM processing until the advent of the SRMU, which used the SMARF.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #37 on: 04/25/2014 01:43 pm »
I have all the drawings for the SPIF.  There is one problem.  Whoever "packaged" the drawings onto the CD used the same reference number for the index of the drawings and the overview drawing.  So in setting up the CD, the overview drawing was deleted.  I am looking for alternative sources for the drawing.  The rest of the drawings have no context for those unfamiliar with the SPIF without this overview drawing

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #38 on: 04/25/2014 01:47 pm »

Back in the day, when I worked at KSC, I knew vaguely that this all existed, but it still took my breath away to finally see photos of it years later.  It was an entire parallel classified universe, not only of the big test stands but of the people.  There was even an alternate me over there! 

 - Ed Kyle

The contact that Ed worked on was PGOC (Payload Ground Operations Contract) and MDAC had it.  KSC used this for Spacelab processing and shuttle payload integration.  The parallel contract for the USAF was SPOC (Shuttle Payload Operations Contract), which was also MDAC.  It made things easy since SPOC could be supplemented by PGOC personnel during critical ops.

Offline mfck

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #39 on: 07/30/2014 10:10 pm »
I have all the drawings for the SPIF.  There is one problem.  Whoever "packaged" the drawings onto the CD used the same reference number for the index of the drawings and the overview drawing.  So in setting up the CD, the overview drawing was deleted.  I am looking for alternative sources for the drawing.  The rest of the drawings have no context for those unfamiliar with the SPIF without this overview drawing
I take it you have not found an alternative source for the drawing. That's a pity. Anyways, thanks for the interesting info and pictures.

Offline Space OurSoul

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #40 on: 07/31/2014 01:08 am »
There was even an alternate me over there! 
Did he have a goatee?
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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #41 on: 07/31/2014 11:53 am »
How many integration cells are in the SPIF?


two and a holding cell

Is the holding suitable for incoming payloads, or completed and ready to go to the pad payloads?

Having 2 integration cells is certainly huge for process flow.  It takes work out of the site hanger and lets them do two times that away from the pad.  That explains how they can schedule the current surge in flight rate.
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Offline sghill

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #42 on: 07/31/2014 12:30 pm »
How many integration cells are in the SPIF?


two and a holding cell

Is the holding suitable for incoming payloads, or completed and ready to go to the pad payloads?


It's for people. ;)
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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #43 on: 07/31/2014 12:43 pm »


Is the holding suitable for incoming payloads, or completed and ready to go to the pad payloads?

Having 2 integration cells is certainly huge for process flow.  It takes work out of the site hanger and lets them do two times that away from the pad.  That explains how they can schedule the current surge in flight rate.

The transfer aisle, holding cell and even the canister airlock can hold either incoming or ready payloads.  However, the canister airlock would be more suited for ready payloads and the  transporter airlock would be for only incoming.

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #44 on: 07/31/2014 12:49 pm »


Is the holding suitable for incoming payloads, or completed and ready to go to the pad payloads?

Having 2 integration cells is certainly huge for process flow.  It takes work out of the site hanger and lets them do two times that away from the pad.  That explains how they can schedule the current surge in flight rate.

The transfer aisle, holding cell and even the canister airlock can hold either incoming or ready payloads.  However, the canister airlock would be more suited for ready payloads and the  transporter airlock would be for only incoming.

Does that mean a total of 4 payloads could be in the building at one time?
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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #45 on: 07/31/2014 01:19 pm »

Does that mean a total of 4 payloads could be in the building at one time?

Wouldn't be able to move around much and not much space for GSE (there are only two trailer rooms) and limited office space for workers.    Also depends on total propellant quantities and ordnance.  Also, it wouldn't have any room to bring in fairings and work on them.  Encapsulation was likely done in the transfer aisle.   Dragon is also processed in here. 

I would say two in work and one ready to go to the pad as the max.
« Last Edit: 07/31/2014 02:50 pm by Jim »

Offline baldusi

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #46 on: 07/31/2014 01:36 pm »

Does that mean a total of 4 payloads could be in the building at one time?

Wouldn't be able to move around much and not much space for GSE (there are only two trailer rooms) and limited office space for workers.    Also depends on total propellant quantities and ordnance.  Also, it would have any room to bring in fairings and work on them.  Encapsulation was likely done in the transfer aisle.   Dragon is also processed in here. 

I would say two in work and one ready to go to the pad as the max.
Do a payload like Orbcomm's 11 satellites require extra ground floor? Or because they are small and identical is the same like a big one?

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #47 on: 07/31/2014 03:07 pm »
Originally, the Shuttle Payload Integration Facility and changed to Spacecraft Processing and Integration Facility after Challenger

Essentially a small VAB for smaller rockets?
My God!  It's full of universes!

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #48 on: 07/31/2014 03:07 pm »
Originally, the Shuttle Payload Integration Facility and changed to Spacecraft Processing and Integration Facility after Challenger

Essentially a small VAB for smaller rockets?

No, it is a spacecraft facility.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #49 on: 07/31/2014 03:08 pm »

Do a payload like Orbcomm's 11 satellites require extra ground floor? Or because they are small and identical is the same like a big one?

Depends on how many.

Offline baldusi

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #50 on: 07/31/2014 03:56 pm »

Do a payload like Orbcomm's 11 satellites require extra ground floor? Or because they are small and identical is the same like a big one?

Depends on how many.
You could be an economist: most answers are "it depends"  :P

Offline rpapo

Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #51 on: 07/31/2014 03:59 pm »
You could be an economist: most answers are "it depends"  :P
Certainly an economist with words.  He uses very few.

But seriously, if the question isn't precise, then the answer won't be precise either.
Following the space program since before Apollo 8.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #52 on: 07/31/2014 04:00 pm »
AsiaSat-6 is now inside CCAFS and another a person says it was moved to a CCAFS processing facility yesterday and will be transferred to a processing cell today for inspection and checkout. AsiaSat-8 is about to move to SLC-40 so AsiaSat-6 is already in SPIF.

http://www.satnews.com/story.php?number=1179629582

Offline Prober

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #53 on: 07/31/2014 11:49 pm »
You could be an economist: most answers are "it depends"  :P
Certainly an economist with words.  He uses very few.


it's not the quantity its the quality ;)
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Offline dsobin

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #54 on: 08/01/2014 03:34 am »
I find all of this SPIF info fascinating. If anyone would like to provide some good overview writeup of how the spacecraft flow works and the features of the SPIF, I'd love to read about it.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #55 on: 08/01/2014 11:04 am »
I take it you have not found an alternative source for the drawing. That's a pity. Anyways, thanks for the interesting info and pictures.

I am trying two other sources

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #56 on: 08/01/2014 11:05 am »
I find all of this SPIF info fascinating. If anyone would like to provide some good overview writeup of how the spacecraft flow works and the features of the SPIF, I'd love to read about it.

I will once I find an overview drawing of the facility

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #57 on: 08/01/2014 03:27 pm »
I found a video and did screen capture.
It is still missing a few things and some of names are different.
It is holding cell vs PLF holding cell (the facility was designed for shuttle payload).  The holding cell is for what ever is need to be "held"

Everything west of the integration cells is missing.
The south trailer rooms would be right below the equipment airlock (EAL).  Then to the north of that would be south equipment support room, then hurricane bracing area which provides access to the back side of the integration cells. It is a non clean area.  North of the HBA is the north equipment support room, followed by the north trailer room,  Also, the entrance areas, security room, offices (limited amounts on various floors) and garmenting room are missing from the north side of the  pic.

« Last Edit: 08/03/2014 04:56 pm by Jim »

Offline kch

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #58 on: 08/01/2014 03:41 pm »
You could be an economist: most answers are "it depends"  :P

Certainly an economist with words.  He uses very few.


Indeed.  :)




But seriously, if the question isn't precise, then the answer won't be precise either.


Precisely!  :D

Offline Mike_1179

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #59 on: 08/01/2014 03:43 pm »

Essentially a small VAB for smaller rockets?

No, it is a spacecraft facility.

So what are some of the differences between processing a spacecraft and processing a launch vehicle?  This might be a horribly broad or naive question, but I think some of us get hung up because there seems to be big differences between what you need to do to get something to go into space (vehicle) and what you need to do to get something to operate in space (spacecraft).

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #60 on: 08/01/2014 03:44 pm »
The equipment airlock and the two doors to the south trailer room can be seen on the left side of the photo.
« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 03:49 pm by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX use of the SPIF
« Reply #61 on: 08/01/2014 03:47 pm »
So what are some of the differences between processing a spacecraft and processing a launch vehicle?  This might be a horribly broad or naive question, but I think some of us get hung up because there seems to be big differences between what you need to do to get something to go into space (vehicle) and what you need to do to get something to operate in space (spacecraft).

Launch vehicles are not processed in clean rooms.  Propellants for spacecraft are not loaded at the pad but in a processing facility.   

Offline Jim

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Typical processing flowing would have the spacecraft transporter coming into the EAL.  The cover of the transporter is either removed in the EAL or in the transfer aisle.  The spacecraft is then placed on an integration stand and moved into one of the integration cells for testing and prop loading.  Air pallets are used to move the articles.  In the mean while, the fairing can be brought in vertically through the canister airlock or horizontally through the EAL.  It is prepped (verticated, cleaned and insulation installed) and readied for encapsulation in the transfer aisle. This can even be done before the spacecraft arrives and the fairing placed in the holding cell.  The launch vehicle adapter is prepped and placed on a stand.  The spacecraft is mated to the adapter either in an integration cell or the transfer aisle.  The spacecraft is then encapsulated in the fairing.  The encapsulated payload is then moved out into the highboy of the SMAB through the canister airlock when it is lifted on to a transporter for delivery to the pad.   There may be a Spacex option of breaking over the fairing and leaving through the EAL.

The SPIF has a 50 ton crane which serves the transfer aisle and integration cells.  The EAL has two smaller cranes for removing transporter covers.  The SMAB high bay has a 350 ton crane that originally was used for lifting complete Titan 34D SRM's.

Offline Tomness

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Jim, Do you know if the SMAB High Bay and IUS (Inertial Upper Stage) bay is used for anything? If not do you think they could be converted to Spacecraft Processing and Integration Facilities as well or it be better to have clean design?

Offline baldusi

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How big are those internal doors? I remember ATV videos and there was like 5cm clearance to each side.

Offline Jim

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Jim, Do you know if the SMAB High Bay and IUS (Inertial Upper Stage) bay is used for anything? If not do you think they could be converted to Spacecraft Processing and Integration Facilities as well or it be better to have clean design?

The IUS bay could be used for processing that doesn't involve prop loading.  I don't know what state it is in.
The high bay would be too difficult and the SPIF still needs access for the canister airlock.

Offline Jim

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How big are those internal doors? I remember ATV videos and there was like 5cm clearance to each side.

The ones to the cells are much wider than 15 feet.  If you look at post #1, the rails on each side of the spacecraft are at 15 feet.

Offline mlindner

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Can we please follow proper technical writing etiquette and use ( ) after every acronym with the expanded acronym after it? Reading this thread is a serious headache.
« Last Edit: 08/03/2014 05:31 pm by mlindner »
LEO is the ocean, not an island (let alone a continent). We create cruise liners to ride the oceans, not artificial islands in the middle of them. We need a physical place, which has physical resources, to make our future out there.

Offline Jim

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Can add this pic.

The two rails in the cell are where shuttle payloads would have attached for checkout.  So the distance between them is around 16 feet.
« Last Edit: 08/03/2014 04:57 pm by Jim »

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I can't really get into the details of its current use but I will say this. It may be old and have a lot of "character", but I love that facility.  Many of my coworkers think I'm nuts, but hey, I'm a huge cold war and space history nut. So yes, I love where I work every day. It's definitely a prime example of what you can get with a blank check...
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Online edkyle99

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Can add this pic.

The two rails in the cell are where shuttle payloads would have attached for checkout.  So the distance between them is around 16 feet.
That photo showing Asiasat 8 sitting in front of an entire SPIF (Satellite Processing and Integration Facility) cell should be helpful for those seeking a way to scale things.  Each cell was used to mimic an entire Space Shuttle cargo bay.  If more than one payload was flying on a Shuttle all could be inserted simultaneously into the checkout cell, which would then be used for testing designed to make sure that the payloads would mechanically and electrically "plug-in" to the Shuttle when moved out to the pad.  The facility would have had a complete set of any Orbiter avionics that interfaced with the payload bay.  Shuttle astronauts would have been involved in those tests, so there's a lot of history in there - and that doesn't include all of the stuff I don't know about that may have occurred during the Titan IV years when some probably amazing and still secret satellites may have passed through the doors.  I like to imagine a series of almost "Hubble" equivalent spysats passing through, for example.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 08/04/2014 07:30 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline Jim

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I will try to tally the launches that passed through the facility.

Offline dsobin

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Can I assume the entire SPIF has a clean room environment? What class? Do we know if SpaceX is responsible for all of the operations in the building?

Does the S/C owner typically "move in" during processing of their S/C and do the prep work themselves? Does the launch provider ever do that kind of work? I assume integration is a shared effort.

We spend a lot of forum bandwidth learning about rockets. I think it's time we all learn more about the spacecraft and the processing that goes into making them ready for launch.

Offline Lobo

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The SPIF exists in the SMAB because it was cheaper to use part of an existing building.  The canister airlock and the PHF exist because of using an existing building, it was not able to accept the NASA canister and so the payload had to be brought out to the canister.  The facility is now entering its 4th decade of service, I would say that the taxpayer's got their money's worth out of it (which was less than $200M (maybe $150M) if I recall)

Personally, I enjoy seeing that legacy US Space Launch infrastructure used when possible.  SpaceX may be getting a bargin in it's use, but the alternative is the SMAB and other hardware and structures would be mothballed, or simply abandon and left to rot.  I enjoy seeing other US space launch providers using it too where applicable.  LC-41, LC-37, LC-40, LC-39A, SLC-6, SMAB/SPIF, etc.  So that they aren't ending up like LC-34 and other facilities.  You can't keep them open just for history's sake and justify the taxpayer expense usually, so I like seeing them repurposed to aid in US space launches of any time when and where they can be. 

If SLS doesn't survive, I would very much hope there's some use for the VAB and other KSC facilities that are currently being used for SLS that can be found. 
I hate to see such assets, especially the particularly historic ones, just left to rot.

Perhaps if OrbATK were to try to get into the USAF/DoD launch business, and need to launch from CCAFS, they would repurpose another old launch facility and bring it back to life.


Online Ronsmytheiii

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So probably way off, but any chance SpaceX will use the rest of the SMAB to store stages while waiting for the hangars at LC39/41 to clear?  I know they used the DMCO/Hangar AO for Falcon 1, but 1.1 is too big now.

Edit: Verified some facts http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32609.15
« Last Edit: 08/04/2014 10:46 pm by Ronsmytheiii »

Offline Jim

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. it's a building the likes of which you would never see built. It is most definitely awe inspiring....


You need to see the EPF.  Maybe you may eventually support missions from there.

Offline Jim

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So probably way off, but any chance SpaceX will use the rest of the SMAB to store stages while waiting for the hangars at LC39/41 to clear?  I know they used the DMCO/Hangar AO for Falcon 1, but 1.1 is too big now.

Edit: Verified some facts http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32609.15

I heard Hangar AF was being used.

Offline Jim

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Can I assume the entire SPIF has a clean room environment? What class? Do we know if SpaceX is responsible for all of the operations in the building?

Does the S/C owner typically "move in" during processing of their S/C and do the prep work themselves? Does the launch provider ever do that kind of work? I assume integration is a shared effort.

We spend a lot of forum bandwidth learning about rockets. I think it's time we all learn more about the spacecraft and the processing that goes into making them ready for launch.

The SPIF is 100K class (ISO Class 8 ), but I have seen it operate at 5k.  The clean areas are everywhere in the layout pic I posted with the exception of the two airlocks which have to operate at ambient and at 100K.

I would assume Spacex is responsible since there are no other users.  The real question is who is operating the SMAB?

The spacecraft contractor does all the hands on work on the satellite.  The facility operator may help with cranes and comm lines.   The launch provider doesn't get involved until adapter mate and encapsulation. Adapter mate has the spacecraft contractor  doing the lift and the launch provider directing.   Encapsulation is all launch provider with the spacecraft as an interested bystander. 

I have done a few threads on spacecraft prep, look under basic  rocket science
« Last Edit: 08/05/2014 02:12 am by Jim »

Offline butters

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Seems like this place will really come into its own when the Dragons start returning to launch site. A canister airlock seems like a nice thing to have when you've got hypergolic vertical landers coming in for refueling.

Offline padrat

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. it's a building the likes of which you would never see built. It is most definitely awe inspiring....


You need to see the EPF.  Maybe you may eventually support missions from there.

I've heard. Based on the floor plan I've seen I'd say they definitely took lessons learned from the SPIF into consideration when they designed the EPF. It looks pretty sweet.
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Offline Jim

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I will try to tally the launches that passed through the facility.

STS 51-C, 51-J, 27, 28, 33, 36, 38, 44, 53
Syncom IV-X
Centaur G' for Galileo

Atlas II AC-101 DSCS III B-14,  AC-104 DSCS III B-9, AC- 109, 157, 162, 167
Atlas V AV-009, 015, 023
Delta IV D-239, 337, 351, 353, 360
Titan IV K-10, 21,  B-32, 41, 35, 38 and maybe 5-10 more.   Don't know about the later DSP's
Spacex CRS-2, SES-8, Asiasat

Offline chapi

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SES-8, Asiasat

I went through the thread (sorry if I was too fast and missed something) and didn't catch if the propellant filling of those commercial spacecraft were performed within the SPIF, or if operations were limited to handling/integration atop the launcher.

Also, everything looks operated by SpaceX staff, right ? no Astrotech team is involved ?

Thanks for informations.

Offline Jim

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I went through the thread (sorry if I was too fast and missed something) and didn't catch if the propellant filling of those commercial spacecraft were performed within the SPIF, or if operations were limited to handling/integration atop the launcher.


Prop loading would be in the SPIF. 
Astrotech would only support within their own facilities.
Either way, typically the spacecraft contractor loads the propellant into its own spacecraft.

Offline dsobin

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What is the business model for payload processing? Does the s/c owner or contractor pay SpaceX for use of the
SPIF to process their spacecraft. Is that effort part of the integration and encapsulation effort and considered included in basic launch cost (as SpaceX defines it)?

Is there reason to believe that SpaceX is billing for this any differently than any other launch provider? I'm curious because SpaceX publishes their basic launch cost, so I wonder if they then separately bill for any of the s/c processing.

My current curiosity is about how this is done for commercial payloads. Previous posts in other threads indicate that the military does things differently.

Offline Jim

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What is the business model for payload processing? Does the s/c owner or contractor pay SpaceX for use of the
SPIF to process their spacecraft. Is that effort part of the integration and encapsulation effort and considered included in basic launch cost (as SpaceX defines it)?

Is there reason to believe that SpaceX is billing for this any differently than any other launch provider? I'm curious because SpaceX publishes their basic launch cost, so I wonder if they then separately bill for any of the s/c processing.

My current curiosity is about how this is done for commercial payloads. Previous posts in other threads indicate that the military does things differently.

It is an additional charge and not included in the basic launch service price.

Offline Lar

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This is an awesome thread. Some trimming has occurred to return it to its former awesomeness... Why wasn't the issue reported until today... (stamps foot) ???
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Offline Lar

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What is the business model for payload processing? Does the s/c owner or contractor pay SpaceX for use of the
SPIF to process their spacecraft. Is that effort part of the integration and encapsulation effort and considered included in basic launch cost (as SpaceX defines it)?

Is there reason to believe that SpaceX is billing for this any differently than any other launch provider? I'm curious because SpaceX publishes their basic launch cost, so I wonder if they then separately bill for any of the s/c processing.

My current curiosity is about how this is done for commercial payloads. Previous posts in other threads indicate that the military does things differently.

It is an additional charge and not included in the basic launch service price.

Doesn't almost any payload require SOME processing? I kinda feel like the guy at the car dealer who thought he understood the price but then optional (but really... required) extras appeared before he drove out. Thanks for any light you can shed!
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline russianhalo117

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What is the business model for payload processing? Does the s/c owner or contractor pay SpaceX for use of the
SPIF to process their spacecraft. Is that effort part of the integration and encapsulation effort and considered included in basic launch cost (as SpaceX defines it)?

Is there reason to believe that SpaceX is billing for this any differently than any other launch provider? I'm curious because SpaceX publishes their basic launch cost, so I wonder if they then separately bill for any of the s/c processing.

My current curiosity is about how this is done for commercial payloads. Previous posts in other threads indicate that the military does things differently.

It is an additional charge and not included in the basic launch service price.

Doesn't almost any payload require SOME processing? I kinda feel like the guy at the car dealer who thought he understood the price but then optional (but really... required) extras appeared before he drove out. Thanks for any light you can shed!
yes if you include inspection, checkout and mating as processing. Heck even ASI's LARES (Laser Relativity Satellite) sphere went through processing. I could name quite a few but Id most likely exceed my posts character limit and size.
Pictures here:
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Launchers/Launch_vehicles/Vega3/LARES_Laser_Relativity_Satellite
« Last Edit: 08/15/2014 12:41 am by russianhalo117 »

Offline Jim

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Doesn't almost any payload require SOME processing? I kinda feel like the guy at the car dealer who thought he understood the price but then optional (but really... required) extras appeared before he drove out. Thanks for any light you can shed!

It is up to the spacecraft to provide a processing facility and they know it.  They may use a 3rd party such as Astrotech or KSC or they can go through the launch vehicle to supply it.  The launch vehicle may have their own like Spacex or it can provide it via a subcontract to Astrotech.

If a payload requires no prop loading and no checkout, it still needs a place to be encapsulated.  The launch vehicle may pay for this.

Offline Jim

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Let's add these pics

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This is probably a pretty ignorant question, and it's also off topic, but I've been wondering why it looks like the satellite is covered with little strips of tape? What is that and what is it for?

Thanks.

Offline russianhalo117

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Let's add these pics
if you closely on the first one  the shuttle payload locks for processing are still there.

on the second on the left it looks like removed processing platforms and wall so did one cell get disassembled?

Jim since you would probably know, what was the last shuttle payload processed in each of the cells.
« Last Edit: 08/16/2014 12:21 am by russianhalo117 »

Offline Jim

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This is probably a pretty ignorant question, and it's also off topic, but I've been wondering why it looks like the satellite is covered with little strips of tape? What is that and what is it for?

Thanks.

Tape to keep the MLI in place.

Offline Jim

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if you closely on the first one  the shuttle payload locks for processing are still there.

on the second on the left it looks like removed processing platforms and wall so did one cell get disassembled?

Jim since you would probably know, what was the last shuttle payload processed in each of the cells.

That is the holding cell on the left, which never was outfitted, the view is facing south.  The two integration cells are on the right with the second one behind the photographer.

STS-53 was the last shuttle spacecraft, but there was a piece of GSE called the Payload Support Structure that some what simulated a IUS.  I believe they would put the DSP spacecraft on it and do the testing and prop loading on it.  I think it was done for the 2nd DIV Heavy and maybe some of the later Titan IV's

Offline Darga

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I will try to tally the launches that passed through the facility.

STS 51-C, 51-J, 27, 28, 33, 36, 38, 44, 53
Syncom IV-X
Centaur G' for Galileo

Atlas II AC-101 DSCS III B-14,  AC-104 DSCS III B-9, AC- 109, 157, 162, 167
Atlas V AV-009, 015, 023
Delta IV D-239, 337, 351, 353, 360
Titan IV K-10, 21,  B-32, 41, 35, 38 and maybe 5-10 more.   Don't know about the later DSP's
Spacex CRS-2, SES-8, Asiasat

Is it CRS-2 that went through here or CRS-3? Info and photos I have found are suggesting that CRS-2 was integrated in the SpaceX main hangar.

Offline Jim

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Found it

Offline Jansen

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Just stumbled across this old thread while researching.

Here is an updated map provided by SpaceX.

Offline Jester

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Sorry to bring an old thread back, but the SPIF ICD is currently on e-bay and I'm grabbing some pics...

ICD-SPIF-20047
https://www.ebay.com/itm/256139426282
« Last Edit: 10/10/2023 03:44 pm by Jester »

Offline Jim

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Sorry to bring an old thread back, but the SPIF ICD is currently on e-bay and I'm grabbing some pics...

ICD-SPIF-20047


That is the ICD for DSP/IUS.
The signature page has the following:
BAC - Boeing Aerospace Company - IUS contractor
SD/YU - IUS program office
SD/YG - DSP program office
SD/YOC - AF Shuttle cargo integration office
PSC A - TRW
PSC B - Aerojet

Offline Jim

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I went through the thread (sorry if I was too fast and missed something) and didn't catch if the propellant filling of those commercial spacecraft were performed within the SPIF, or if operations were limited to handling/integration atop the launcher.


Prop loading would be in the SPIF. 
Astrotech would only support within their own facilities.
Either way, typically the spacecraft contractor loads the propellant into its own spacecraft.

Astrotech has loaded propellant in the SpaceX PPF

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