The CubeLab standard for improved access to the international space station

James E. Lumpp, Daniel M. Erb, Twyman S. Clements, Jason T. Rexroat, Michael D. Johnson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

15 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2011 Aerospace Conference, AERO 2011
StatePublished - 2011
Event2011 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2011 - Big Sky, MT, United States
Duration: Mar 5 2011Mar 12 2011

Publication series

NameIEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1095-323X


Conference2011 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBig Sky, MT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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