A visit to OSIRIS-Rex clean room

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NASA recently gave a press tour of the clean room where the asteroid probe OSIRIS-Rex is being prepped for its September 8 launch, and one reporter from that tour wrote a very nice description of what it was like.

After such a tour, most reporters write up stories that describe the spaceship, its mission, and its status. This reporter however did something better. He wrote up what it’s like to enter a clean room for a mission only weeks from launch.

Our belongings have been lined up in a row alongside us. And then the dog arrives.

It’s a beautiful specimen of a german shepherd, long and enthusiastic, being led by a sturdy military-type with a buzzcut wearing what looks like mercenary gear. The dog is led down the row of belongings once. Then twice. Then he and his owner head back to their truck and drive off. We have passed. We are free to go into the blessed blast of cool air on the bus that’s been idling alongside us for what seems like hours, but has really only been about 15 minutes.

And that’s only the start. Read it all. Quite fascinating.


  • Localfluff

    I thought they let the dog into the clean room. That’d be a story. My mother never let my childhood dog indoors at all.

  • Edward

    From the article: “If you ever get invited to a NASA clean room, be sure to leave your nylons at home, be prepared to look a little silly, and do not – no matter what – step over the orange line.”

    Different cleanrooms have different requirements. Always obey all the rules all the time. You’re probably going to look a little silly, but then, so will everyone else. Nylon may be allowed; for OSIRIS it seemed to be a special consideration to prevent amino acid contamination. The orange line that you should not step over could be another color in another clean room. In fact, you probably should not step over any lines without making sure it is OK to do so.

    Pretty much every cleanroom with spaceflight hardware is going to be concerned about how close anyone gets to the flight hardware. Static electricity (and its effects) is a large concern, and *anyone* who approaches flight hardware must have wrist straps (or equivalent) AND be grounded.

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