NanoRacks-ArduSat-2 (NanoRacks-ArduSat-2) - 11.22.16

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Space-ready materials are still much more expensive than their Earth-based counterparts. But off-the-shelf equipment like cameras, microprocessors and temperature sensors might be able to function in space, and collect data at much lower costs. Using crowd-sourced funding, NanoRacks-ArduSat-2 tests terrestrial electronics and hardware that have been minimally adapted for use in space, which lowers the cost of access to low Earth orbit.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Peter Platzer, Dipl. Ing., M.S., MBA, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer

Principal Investigator(s)
Peter Platzer, Dipl. Ing., M.S., MBA, NanoSatisfi Inc, San Francisco, CA, United States

Information Pending

NanoSatisfi Inc., San Francisco, CA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2013 - March 2014

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Cost for space-proven materials is still exorbitant when compared to earth-rated products.  Lowering the cost for such items is a crucial ingredient in providing affordable and convenient space exploration for everyone.
  • NanoRacks-ArduSat-2 tests advanced electronics and hardware from earth in the space environment with only minimal adaptation in order to lower cost of access and use of space.
  • NanoRacks-ArduSat-2 provides proof-of-concept that earth-rated sensors and materials can be used in space with minimal adaptation for specific applications including commercial and science application
  • NanoRacks-ArduSat-2 makes available information about what types of earth-rated sensors, microprocessors and materials might be most suited for basic and limited space applications and for what type of space applications.


Ease of use through a web-interface and intuitive User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) through careful design are a major part of enabling the primary investigation objective. A complex chain of software is established for NanoRacks-ArduSat-2. Starting with low-level assembly code to control some of the sensors, C/C++(programming language) for the majority of on-board software and the control of the radio equipment on the CubeSat and on the ground and higher-level languages like Ruby on Rails, SQL and Python (programming languages) are integrated to form one seamless software-architecture.

On the hardware side, consumer-off-the-shelf (COTS) sensors like magnetometers, accelerometers, gyros and temperature sensors are connected via an augmented Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C) protocol with more complex, yet still off-the-shelf sensors like Geiger counters, a camera and spectrometer and VHF radio beacon receiver.   Selection criteria and know-how with regards to earth-rated sensors, microprocessors and materials which are mass-produced and hence cheap yet can be used in space for specific and limited applications, allow for dramatically cheaper space missions in the future by taking advantage of the low cost due to mass production on earth.  The microprocessor payload consists of a number of Atmel chips which communicate with a supervisor processor via a proprietary communication protocol which provides very fine control over the individual computational nodes of the payload.  The majority of the bus-components are standard spaceflight hardware with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 9 or 8.

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Space Applications
Lowering costs for satellites in low Earth orbit, including Pico-, Nano- and Microsatellites, provides significant benefits for space-based research and educational programs. Information about which terrestrial sensors, processors and materials might be best suited for use in space helps space programs and private companies develop more inexpensive Earth-observing satellites.

Earth Applications
Lowering the cost of space exploration can pave the way for new inexpensive satellite fleets, offering a wide range of benefits to people on Earth. Small satellites using commercially available cameras and gyroscopes could provide faster response times for natural disasters, for instance. Nano-satellites using off-the-shelf equipment hold potential for commercial applications in remote sensing, Earth and space imagery, and public outreach.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols

Remove the Remove-before-flight pin before launching the CubeSat from the ISS. No other operational requirements and constraints are known or expected at this point in time.

When CubeSat operations begin, the NRCDs are unpacked, mounted on the JAXA Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) and placed on the JEM airlock slide table for transfer outside the ISS.

NanoRacks CubeSats are delivered to the ISS already integrated within a NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD). A crewmember transfers each NRCSD from the launch vehicle to the JEM.  Visual inspection for damage to each NRCSD is performed.  When CubeSat deployment operations begin, the NRCSDs are unpacked, mounted on the JAXA Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) and placed on the JEM airlock slide table for transfer outside the ISS. A crewmember operates the JEM Remote Manipulating System (JRMS) – to grapple and position for deployment. CubeSats are deployed when JAXA ground controllers command a specific NRCSD.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Model of the NanoRacks-ArduSat-2 satellite. Actual parts are proprietary.  Image courtesy of NanoSatisfi Inc.  

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