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Winsted Engineers Control Room of the Future for Historic Launch to the Moon
America hasn’t been to the surface of the Moon in nearly fifty years. But that is about to change. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based Astrobotic is a lunar logistics company providing end-to-end delivery services for payloads to the Moon.
This year, Astrobotic will be launching Peregrine Mission One, which is poised to be the first commercial mission to successfully land on another planetary body. To prepare for this historic launch, Astrobotic needed a control room expertly equipped to support their team.
Designing, engineering, and building a control room fit to support a launch to the Moon is no small feat. It requires state-of-the-art design that prioritizes functionality and ergonomics.
In preparation for the world’s first lunar landing in the last half century, Astrobotic worked with Winsted, engineers of mission critical technical furniture, to design and build their new mission control center.
Astrobotic Peregrine Lander
Astrobotic was founded in 2007. Today they have 196 employees with more than 1000 years of combined experience across the space, robotics, and aeronautics industries. Their home base, located in the heart of Pittsburgh, is a 47,000 square foot complex; it is the largest private facility in the world dedicated to lunar logistics. Within this massive facility, Astrobotic scientists and engineers build and operate their line of landers, rovers, autonomous spacecraft navigation systems, and other space technologies.
Peregrine is a small-class lander that precisely and safely delivers payloads to lunar orbit and the lunar surface.
“The Peregrine lander will carry a diverse suite of scientific instruments, technologies, mementos, and other payloads from six different countries, dozens of science teams, and thousands of individuals,” said Jennifer Lopez, Astrobotic’s Director of Business Development, Commercial and Civil Space.
The Peregrine lander is designed of a core set of systems, known as the bus. The lander bus design enables safe payload delivery to lunar orbit and any latitude on the lunar surface. The bus can be arranged, augmented, and adapted to the various payload delivery locations. The Peregrine landers flexible bus configuration can accommodate a variety of payload types for science, exploration, marketing, resources, and commemoration.
The Peregrine will be carrying multiple payloads to the surface of the moon, several of which are from NASA.
The Peregrine lander is comprised of the following systems:
- Structures – Strong and lightweight for survivability during launch and landing.
- Propulsion – Maneuvers lander after separation from the launch vehicle.
- Guidance, Navigation, Control – Controls, orients, and flies the lander throughout the mission.
- Power – Generates, stores, and distributes power to payloads and lander systems.
- Avionics – Performs all command and data handling for the lander.
- Communications – Provides communication services between ground stations and the lander.
- Thermal Control – Regulates and controls thermal interfaces for lander systems.
“The Peregrine lander launch and Moon landing will be controlled directly from the newly built Astrobotic Mission Control Center inside our headquarters,” continued Lopez. “When looking to develop our new mission control center, we wanted to prioritize operator experience to ensure a successful launch and landing.”
The new Astrobotic Mission Control Center needed to support the high stress, high stakes Peregrine lander launch. The team of engineers and scientists tasked with controlling and monitoring the critical launch is expecting long hours that will require extreme focus. To create a top-of-the-line control room to support their team’s needs, Astrobotic contacted Winsted.
“Winsted specializes in seamless workspace integration through reimagined and refined products,” said Randy Smith, Winsted President. “We work to not only build control rooms; we’re dedicated to improving command center operations and efficiency. Astrobotic needed a workspace that was an extension of the operator and their objective – launching the Peregrine lander.”
With this in mind, Winsted and Astrobotic set out to engineer their new mission control room with intelligent ergonomics and smart furniture at the forefront.
Sightline to the Moon
The new mission control room required seating for 18 operators at a time, with extra space for additional employees to observe and support from the sides.
“We were required to engineer an innovative control room that provided open sightlines, comfortable seating for individual users, and provided sufficient room to operate and communicate with team members,” said Smith.
The solution – Winsted’s ergonomic, modular, and adaptable Sightline Consoles.
The Sightline is the gold standard for adaptable, reconfigurable control room consoles. The award-winning console series provides users with flexibility in any technical environment.
“The Sightline consoles was the perfect solution for Astrobotic because it can accommodate the broadest range of users who need to adjust and set sightlines and viewing angles, customizing to their personal needs simply and quickly,” said Lopez.
Sightline console features include:
- Sightline Cable Management – Convenient cable management solutions that are easily accessible.
- Sightline Data Power – Openings for a universal data mounting plate duplex power are conveniently located at the back of the work surface.
- Sightline Multi-Purpose Doors – Double-panel doors are extra sturdy to support a CPU shelf or file/storage bin for convenient swing-out access.
- Sightline Versa Trak – Integrated horizontal aluminum track system will support a wide variety of monitor arrays. Versa-Trak offers the ultimate in versatility with easy horizontal adjustment.
Astrobotic’s new mission control center is fully equipped with six Sightline consoles, seating three operators each. The Winsted Sightline offers ultimate adjustability and comfort with easily optimized viewing angles based on each operators’ personal needs.
“Together, Astrobotic and Winsted have built a mission control center that optimizes the space and offers ergonomic support to users,” said Smith. “During the upcoming Peregrine lander launch, Astrobotic engineers and operators will benefit from the center’s innovative design that offers both comfort and control. It’s a state-of-the-art innovative control room, built for their groundbreaking and historic launch to the moon.”
From concept to final build, Winsted worked to develop a new mission control center environment for Astrobotic where design, function, detail, and comfort worked together harmoniously to create a path to productivity and success.
“Every step of the process was great,” said Lopez. “Personality-wise, they all got along and worked together well. They understood our needs and the opportunity.”
With Peregrine’s launch, Astrobotic is opening the door to the next phase of space science, exploration, and commerce on the Moon and beyond. And they are empowering a thriving human presence in space to explore the universe beyond Earth’s orbit.
“For more than 55 years, Winsted has developed consoles and workstations for mission critical environments, making them the most experienced designers and manufacturers in the industry,” concluded Smith. “It was an honor to be part of Astrobotic’s mission to the moon.”
The new Astrobotic mission control center was completed in 2020 and is ready for the upcoming Peregrine lander launch in 2023.