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The CubeLab Standard for improved access to the International Space Station

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5 Author(s)
Lumpp, J.E. ; Space Syst. Lab., Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA ; Erb, D.M. ; Clements, T.S. ; Rexroat, J.T.
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As the International Space Station (ISS) is completed and the US shuttle fleet is retired in 2011, the NanoRacks Platform and CubeLab Standard provide a unique new opportunity for inexpensive repeatable access to the ISS for small payloads. The NanoRacks Platform serves as the interface between CubeLab Modules and the ISS while providing mechanical attachment, power, and data transfer to each Module. The CubeLab Standard defines mechanical and electrical requirements for CubeLab Modules. CubeLabs can be flown to and from the ISS on a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to support a wide variety of micro-gravity experiments. Once aboard the ISS CubeLabs are installed in the NanoRacks Platforms. As of May 2010, two NanoRacks Platforms have been permanently installed aboard the ISS and each is capable of concurrently accommodating up to 16 CubeLabs. The CubeLab Standard leverages several well defined, well known, and supported standards to simplify access to space. In the summer and fall of 2010, the first four CubeLab Modules were operated aboard the ISS and in 2011 a series of additional CubeLabs will fly to/from the station aboard HTV-2, Progress, Soyuz, DragonLab, and the Space Shuttle flights. This paper introduces the NanoRacks Platform, the specifics of the CubeLab Standard, overviews the processes used for flight verification and operations of CubeLab Modules.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2011 IEEE

Date of Conference:

5-12 March 2011