Fact sheet number: FS-2002-03-59-MSFC
As more scientific experiments are conducted on the International Space Station, there is need for storing biological samples in a thermally-controlled environment before they are returned to Earth for scientific analyses.
The ARCTIC Freezer supports these types of experiments, and is the only flight-qualified freezer on the Space Station at the present time awaiting the arrival of the minus eighty freezer system, MELFI. It can also be used for storing perishable items and reagents - substances used in chemical reactions to detect, examine, measure or produce other substances.
The ARCTIC Freezer is transferred from the Space Shuttle to the International Space Station's Express Rack No. 4. There is a brief checkout to begin operations, and then minimal crew interaction with the ARCTIC Freezer is required. The first ARCTIC unit launches on STS 110 ISS Mission 8A to support an Expedition 4 plant growth experiment. The second unit arrives on STS 111 ISS Mission UF2, providing a total of 38 liters of minus 20 degree cold stowage.
Having a freezer with low temperature storage is essential for specialized Space Station experiments that need to be saved until detailed analysis can be conducted on Earth. This feature will minimize science loss and maximize recovery of expensive microgravity produced samples thus enhancing the biological productivity of the ISS in the assembly phase.
A major use of ARCTIC during Expedition Five will be to accommodate samples from the StelSys commercial microgravity experiment -- a joint study by NASA and Baltimore-based biotechnology research company StelSys, LLC . This experiment will test the function of human liver cells in the microgravity environment, and compare the results to the typical function of duplicate cells on Earth. This type of research could lead to earlier and more reliable drug-candidate screening for patients in need of liver and kidney treatments prior to transplant. It could also accelerate development of new life-saving drugs by pharmaceutical companies.
Temperature profiles are provided for several widely ranging sample types for current and future investigators who may need to use the ARCTIC system to support their science missions. Additional profiles will be added as they become available. Please note that these profiles are for ARCTIC operating as a freezer (~ -25C), however any temperature from +48C to ~-25C, as well as custom temperature profiles, can be requested by the investigator.
Sample test 1 - (Microsoft Excel file, 675 KB) - Pre-flight (STS-110 8A) ground test results showing various cool-down and warm-up profile for the Biomass Production System (BPS) PESTO typical samples in ARCTIC Flight Unit #1. Testing was completed using ARCTIC #1 on a Ground Support Cart at JSC.
Sample test 2 - (Microsoft Excel file, 468 KB) - Pre-flight (STS-111 UF2) ground test results showing various cool-down and warm-up profile for the Coarsening of Solid Liquid Mixtures 2 (CSLM2) PESTO typical samples in ARCTIC Flight Unit #2. Testing was completed using ARCTIC #2 on a Ground Support Cart at KSC.
Sample test 3 - (Microsoft Excel file, 537 KB) - Ground test results showing cool-down and warm-up profile for a generic science sample simulator consisting of 0.9463 L (1Qt) of saline solution in ARCTIC Flight Unit #2. Testing was completed using ARCTIC #2 on a Ground Support Cart at KSC.
For more information on other Expedition experiments, visit: