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XCAM’s particle contamination monitor funding approved by ESA

XCAM PFO monitor prototype
XCAM PFO monitor prototype. Credit XCAM

London, 22 March 2023.- XCAM Ltd, a UK-based designer and manufacturer of digital camera systems, announced on the 22nd of March that they have received significant further funding from ESA for the manufacture of its Space Particle Fall Out (PFO) Monitor. This has come after an eight-year technical development programme where XCAM and ESA have collaborated. Space PFO is due to be ready to launch into space inside a rocket launch vehicle in the summer of 2025. It will be the first instrument to measure particulate contamination inside a rocket. 

“We are grateful to ESA for their continued support over the last 8 years in the development, manufacturing and testing of prototypes of this unique instrument,” says Karen Holland, CEO of XCAM Ltd. “This next tranche of funding takes us to our final launch goal and we are delighted that ESA have the confidence that XCAM can continue to lead the way on these difficult and complex technology development programmes and deliver to their exacting quality standards.”

The Space PFO Monitor is a complex instrument that provides a remote, automated, real-time method of detecting particulate contamination down to the five-micron level in a rocket fairing during and shortly after launch. It will provide valuable data to demonstrate whether or not precious cargos, such as Earth-observing satellites, stay clean on their way into space. It is designed to withstand the varying vibration, shock, acoustic, pressure, temperature and humidity environments experienced during launch and can be deployed across a wide range of different launch vehicle families.

Following the success developing the space system prototypes, XCAM has also adapted the PFO technology for commercial use, and distributes the PFO 1040 real-time surface particulate contamination monitoring system to cleanrooms and clean assembly plants worldwide. 

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