Florida Lab Tours
has arranged two past tours of the David Florida
Laboratory, the Canadian Space Agency's spacecraft
assembly, integration, and testing facility just
outside of Ottawa. The DFL houses three enormous
thermal vacuum space simulators, several radio
frequency anechoic chambers, and two Class 100,000
clean rooms with a total area of over 1300 square
meters. The DFL is operated by the CSA, and its
facilities are rented to private companies such
as MDA and Optech.
No other facility on the planet is capable of
offering this kind of close-up access to the public:
Visitors don clean room dust control garments,
pass through the forced air showers, and get within
inches of the many pieces of real space hardware
being assembled inside the cavernous work bays.
Over the two tours, members have seen Radarsat-2
grow from just a partially assembled spacecraft
bus to a nearly complete satellite, with the insulation
blankets applied and the main radar deployed.
In November 2006, members saw the MET meteorological
station, a component of the Phoenix lander, currently conducting science on Mars. The DFL is
also specifically equipped to test very small
microsatellites, like those which have been built
by university students.
For more information, check out the DFL website: