Astrobotic, a lunar logistics company, specializes in making space missions feasible and more affordable for science, exploration, and commerce. In the heart of Pittsburgh’s North Side, Astrobotic builds and operates its lines of landers, rovers, autonomous spacecraft navigation systems, and other space technologies, and controls payloads from the Astrobotic Mission Control Center.
With a growing team of 150+, Astrobotic needed a new facility for spacecraft integration cleanrooms, test facilities, lab space, payload operations, and dedicated mission control. The 47,000-square-foot facility is the largest private facility dedicated to lunar logistics.
To deliver a modern facility that reflected Astrobotic’s innovative work and position the company as the epicenter of America’s efforts to return to the Moon, architects turned to CENTRIA for a state-of-the-art building envelope system for the former touchscreen manufacturing facility, bakery, and post office distribution and vehicle repair center.
As a retrofit project, the new Astrobotic facility presented challenges in meeting new code requirements for the existing structure while also creating a fresh and contemporary facade.
“We started with the front façade, which serves as the first impression to Astrobotic’s new headquarters and understood the need to have a simple approach while also adding subtle dimensionality to the building,” said James Lennon, project manager from AE7, the architectural firm for the project. “CENTRIA Formawall panels helped us achieve that design goal and meet code and performance requirements in the upgrade.”
Crews installed 2,400 square feet of vertical Regal White Formawall Dimension Series panels to deliver continuous insulation, high R values, and a modern exterior cladding aesthetic.
Formawall Dimension Series insulated metal panels combine unprecedented design freedom with unmatched performance. By consolidating six wall components into one product, Formawall creates distinct architectural wall profiles to match any building design. With pressure-equalized end joints and integration with most glass wall, window, and louver systems, Formawall minimizes potential for gaps and prevents water infiltration.
Additionally, the project team worked with CENTRIA to design custom fins for the entry to create depth, shadow, and randomization. Coordination with CENTRIA engineers allowed for the integration of angled plate aluminum in matching Regal White that concealed fasteners and worked with the standard panel system while adding a dynamic element to front facade.
“The CENTRIA team was fantastic to work with. Partnering with them from the start allowed us to work through technical questions and design the custom fin pieces that the vision called for,” Lennon said. “The early coordination during design development provided a great relationship, allowing us to obtain a high-performing system with the aesthetic that we and the client desired.”
To the Moon
The Astrobotic team moved into the building after phase one of renovations of key spaces was completed in the spring of 2021. New structural changes involve the enlargement of new windows and creation of a new welcoming front entry for the Astrobotic Headquarters, in addition to reinforcing and adding new structural support for a rooftop terrace. Construction on phase two, including the exterior facade and site work, was expected to be complete in the spring of 2022.