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August 2014 - $25M Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre opens at ANU Mt. Stromlo

AITC Mt Stromlo grand opening AITC Mt Stromlo grand opening Cleanroom cleaning Mt Stromlo

BACS Canberra Area Manager, Caroline Wright, was on hand to celebrate the launch on 15 July 2014 of the new $25 million Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC) at the Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics located at Mt. Stromlo. The keynote speaker was Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry, who emphasised the international significance of this precision manufacturing and test facility, as well as how it provides opportunities for industry, government, defence, research and education to collaborate at ANU. The facility already has two major projects – a $5 million design contract which could lead to a further $20 million construction contract for one of the first instruments to be installed on the Giant Magellan Telescope being built in Chile and a $6.4 million project to develop a space junk tracking system for the Korean Astronomy and Space Science Institute.

The AITC is the only Australian facility supporting the development of space satellites and astronomical instrumentation from the design phase, through to construction and pre-launch testing. Facilities include a 110 m2 ISO Class 7 high-bay cleanroom surrounding a 2-tonne gantry crane with a 4.5 m hook height. A smaller 30 m2 ISO Class 7 cleanroom is available onsite for detector assembly. BACS Contamination Control provided the post-construction and pre-validation cleaning services for both cleanrooms, including the challenging clean of the installed gantry crane at height. Several thermal and vacuum chambers allow scientists to test up to 500 kg of equipment and components under the harsh conditions of space from -170 to +150 C and less than 10-6 torr pressure. An electrodynamic shaker provides information on how equipment would fare during the vibration and shock of lift-off. With world-class facilities and engineering talent, the AITC forms the centrepiece of the Australian space industry estimated to generate $1.6 billion in annual revenue and employ more than 4,000 scientists, engineers, policy makers and support personnel. Click here for a virtual tour of the AITC facility.