SALEM – At the end of a narrow street on the north side of Pittsburgh is Astrobotic, a company that makes affordable robotic technology for interplanetary missions.
Astrobotic has obtained multimillion-dollar contracts with NASA and plans to send at least one lunar lander to the moon this year.
The company’s headquarters is a 47,000-square-foot complex that used to be a post office. It contains fabrication areas, including a high bay for spacecraft assembly and a semi-cleanroom.
When the semi-cleanroom was in need of lifting and materials handling capabilities, Tri-State Tool and Hoist of Salem was contacted to see if it had any ideas on how to make this happen. There were some extreme headroom constraints within the 100-year-old building, says Troy Tice, general manager.
Additionally, several considerations had to be taken into account with materials because the semi-cleanroom requires limited dirt, dust and oil.
With an all-hands-on-deck mentality, Tri-State, along with a third-party engineer and fabricator, came up with a plan for an ultra-low headroom hoist and crane system, according to Tice.
The timeline was extremely tight. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic created a number of supply chain issues with getting material but the team persevered and the crane was built in Salem and installed at Astrobiotic.
On Oct. 20, the facility had an official ribbon cutting with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross leading the ceremony.
“Tri-State Tool & Hoist is so proud to be a small part of this company’s operations as they make lunar landers to send to the moon,” says Tice.