Space Station Processing Facility
The Space Station Processing Facility (SSPF) is a three-story, 42,500 m2 (457,000 square foot) industrial building located in the Kennedy Space Center industrial area, just east of the Operations and Checkout Building. It was constructed in 1992 for the manufacture and processing of International Space Station modules, flight hardware, equipment, structural components and solar arrays. The SSPF includes two processing bays, an airlock, operational control rooms, laboratories, logistics areas, office space, a ballroom and conference halls, and a cafeteria. The processing areas, airlock, and laboratories were designed to support non-hazardous Station and Space Shuttle payloads in 100,000 class clean work areas.
Interior of the SSPF, showing Node 2 being hoisted by overhead cranes
|Location||Kennedy Space Center|
|Industry||Aerospace and Space Technology|
|Products||Space Station Modules and Equipment|
|Area||42,500 square meters|
|Address||NASA Parkway East|
Station Integration TestingEdit
Regarding the launch of modules of the International Space Station (ISS), there had been philosophical differences for years between designers and payload processors whether to ship-and-shoot or perform integration testing prior to launch. The former involved building a station module and launching it without ever physically testing it with other modules. The integration testing was not originally in the ISS plan, but in 1995 Johnson Space Center designers began to consider it and embedding KSC personnel at module factories. Multi-Element Integration Testing (MEIT) of ISS modules at KSC was officially in the books in 1997. 
"Three MEIT and one Integration Systems Test (IST) tests were conducted for the ISS," taking about three years from planning to completion and closure:
- MEIT1: US Lab, Z1 truss, P6 truss, and a Node 1 emulator
- Planning began in 1997, Testing began January 1999
- MEIT2: S0 truss/Mobile Transporter/Mobile Base System, S1 truss, P1 truss, P3 truss, P4 truss, and a US Lab emulator.
- MEIT3: Japanese Experiment Module, Node 2, and the US Lab emulator
- Completed in 2007
- Node2 IST: Node 2 and US Lab and Node 1 emulators, as part of the ISS Flight Emulator
After the launch of the U.S. Laboratory module, an emulator was built for MEIT testing, since the lab controlled many other modules. Among the items checked were mechanical connections, the ability to flow power and fluids between modules, and the flight software.
Numerous issues were found from these on the ground tests, many of which couldn't have been fixed in orbit. Many of the builders accompanied their modules from around the world and worked at KSC for months to years during testing. Many of the modules were renamed after successfully launching.
Station components currently in the SSPFEdit
As of 6 March 2019[update]:
- Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules Raffaello and Donatello.
- Two Lightweight Multi-Purpose Equipment Support Structure Carriers (LMCs).
- Node 1 Structural Test Article (STA) - to become Node 4/Docking Hub System (DHS).
- Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway Lunar Habitat module, built by Lockheed Martin - used as a training rig.
When the lights in the building are on, most of these components can be seen on the live webcam from the facility. The building itself is open to the public and tours are offered free of charge by the employees.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Space Station Processing Facility.|
- NASA. "Space Station Processing Facility".
- Lipartito, Kenneth; Butler, Orville (2007). 'A History of the Kennedy Space Center. University Press of Florida. ISBN 978-0-8130-3069-2.
- "International Space Station Program/Hardware/Multi-Element Integration Testing (MEIT)". Lessons Learned. NASA. 1999-02-01. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- "International Space Station (ISS) Program/Ground Processing Schedule/Test and Verification". Lessons Learned. NASA. 1997-02-01. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Beyer, Jeff (October 2009). "STRATEGIES FOR GROUND BASED TESTING OF MANNED LUNAR SURFACE SYSTEMS" (PDF). NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS). NASA. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- NASA. "Space Station Processing Facility - KSC Video Feeds".