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Facility Summary

This content was provided by Elizabeth Hayley, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Summary

Polar is a Cold Stowage managed facility that provides transport and storage of science samples at cryogenic temperatures (-80ºC) to and from ISS.  Polar operates on 75 W supplied power and uses air cooling as its heat rejection method.  Polar can accommodate up to 12.75 liters of sample volume and 20 lbm including sample support equipment.

Facility Manager(s)

  • Elizabeth Hayley, Houston, TX, United States
  • Facility Representative(s)

  • David Ray, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, United States
  • Developer(s)

    University of Alabama at Birmingham - Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering, Birmingham, AL, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization

    Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

    ISS Expedition Duration

    March 2014 - September 2014

    Expeditions Assigned


    Previous ISS Missions

    Information Pending


  • Onboard
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    Facility Overview

    Polar increases the existing Cold Stowage hardware fleet capability for launch and return of science.  Polar is designed to operate as a hard mounted, single middeck locker equivalent within the EXPRESS Rack aboard the ISS, within the Space-X Dragon Capsule, and the Orbital Cygnus Capsule.  The Polar operates as an air cooled payload in the EXPRESS Rack and Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) Vehicles.  A fan is incorporated in the internal ductwork to provide airflow across the heat exchanger at the nominal 15 cubic feet per minute (CFM) provided by the EXPRESS Rack Avionics Air Assembly (AAA).  Polar  provides a single cryocooler along the left side of the unit to provide heat rejection from the cold volume.  Polar’s internal volume provides a generic interface that can be easily adapted for the multiple sample types that may use Polar and provides a configurable interface for various Unique Flight Support Equipment (UFSE).  The Main 28 VDC Power connector J1 is as specified in SSP 52000-IDD-ERP.  Data connector J2 is functionally equivalent to the connector called out in SSP 52000-IDD-ERP.  Polar provides a Display and Keypad Assembly on its front panel for user interaction, as well as an Ethernet connection for a stand-alone Personal Computer (PC) based application that will allow monitoring and control of the Polar remotely.  This application may be used as an EXPRESS laptop application, a ground based application, or a testing/setup application.


    Facility Operations

    • Cryogenic preservation (-80ºC) with 75W supplied power for a wide variety of samples aboard ISS

    • Single Middeck Locker Equivalent (MLE)

    • Capable of transporting 12.75 liters of sample volume and 20 lbm including sample support equipment

    • Active transport of samples to / from the ISS via the SpaceX Dragon and to the ISS via Orbital Cygnus

    • Passive transport of samples to the ISS via the Dragon, Cygnus, ATV, HTV and Progress vehicles

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites
  • Cold Stow
  • UAB
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    Polar Flight Assembly CBSE-F10120-1.  Image provided by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering.

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