Shipping the Spacecraft
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Shipping the Spacecraft

January 30, 2013
When preparing the TIMED spacecraft for travel, several precautions are taken to ensure its safety and cleanliness. Before leaving the clean room, the spacecraft is covered with several antistatic bags to maintain its cleanliness. It's then loaded into and sealed within a specially designed shipping container with instrumentation to record humidity, temperature, shock, and pressure. A continuous nitrogen purge is maintained on the spacecraft to keep moisture and contaminants out — keeping the spacecraft's instruments extremely clean. The container is then loaded onto a custom flatbed truck equipped with special shocks to reduce vibration to the spacecraft and its systems during transport. To date, the TIMED spacecraft has traveled to and from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md., from The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, Md., for environmental testing. On May 30, 2001, it was shipped from APL to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in preparation for launch.

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