15 October 2012 Operations of cleanrooms during a forest fire including protocols and monitoring results
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Abstract
Contamination-sensitive space flight hardware is typically built in cleanroom facilities in order to protect the hardware from particle contamination. Forest wildfires near the facilities greatly increase the number of particles and amount of vapors in the ambient outside air. Reasonable questions arise as to whether typical cleanroom facilities can adequately protect the hardware from these adverse environmental conditions. On Monday September 6, 2010 (Labor Day Holiday), a large wildfire ignited near the Boulder, Colorado Campus of Ball Aerospace. The fire was approximately 6 miles from the Boulder City limits. Smoke levels from the fire stayed very high in Boulder for the majority of the week after the fire began. Cleanroom operations were halted temporarily on contamination sensitive hardware, until particulate and non-volatile residue (NVR) sampling could be performed. Immediate monitoring showed little, if any effect on the cleanroom facilities, so programs were allowed to resume work while monitoring continued for several days and beyond in some cases. Little, if any, effect was ever noticed in the monitoring performed.
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Bruce A. Matheson, Joanne Egges, Michael S. Pirkey, Lynette D. Lobmeyer, "Operations of cleanrooms during a forest fire including protocols and monitoring results", Proc. SPIE 8492, Optical System Contamination: Effects, Measurements, and Control 2012, 84920L (15 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.966274; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.966274
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