NanoRacks Platforms


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Facility Summary

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Brief Summary

NanoRacks Platforms is a multipurpose research facility on board the International Space Station (ISS). NanoRacks Platforms supports NanoRacks Modules in the CubeSat form factor by providing power and data transfer capabilities to operate investigations in microgravity.

Facility Manager(s)

Information Pending

Facility Representative(s)

Information Pending


NanoRacks, LLC, Houston, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization

National Laboratory (NL)

ISS Expedition Duration

March 2010 - September 2014

Expeditions Assigned


Previous ISS Missions

ISS Expeditions 23/24 is the first mission for the NanoRacks Cube-Lab Platform.


  • Onboard
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    Facility Overview

    • NanoRacks Platforms provide power and data transfer capabilities for NanoRacks Modules.
    • The NanoRacks Modules function as an experiment platform, are provided in multiple sizes and can plug into the NanoRacks Platform facilities for power and data transfer, or operate separately.
    NanoRacks Platforms is a multipurpose research facility providing power and data transfer capability to the NanoRacks Modules. Each NanoRacks Platform is approximately 17 x 9 x 20 inches and weighs approximately 12 lbs. NanoRacks Platforms are designed for use within the pressurized space station environment. Each platform provides room for up to 16 payloads in the CubeSat form factor to plug effortlessly into a standard USB connector, which provides both power and data connectivity. Its plug and play system uses a simple, standardized interface that reduces payload integration cost and schedule for nanoscale research in microgravity.

    Onboard the International Space Station (ISS), NanoRacks Platforms are installed in EXPRESS Rack inserts to supply power and USB data transfer capability for NanoRacks Modules. Each NanoRacks Module must conform to a standard size of approximately 4 x 4 x 4 inches and weigh 2.2 lbs. Every NanoRacks Module has a different educational or industrial researcher, the experiments supported cover a wide range of disciplines, some NanoRacks Modules serve as sorties. An ISS crewmember powers down the NanoRacks Platform and then plugs in the resupplied NanoRacks Modules. The NanoRacks Platform is powered up, and the data cable between the associated USB port on the NanoRacks Platform front panel and an EXPRESS Laptop computer is plugged in to collect data and download at designated times.


    Facility Operations

    • A fully integrated NanoRacks Platform is housed in a single locker in the ISS EXPRESS Rack.
    • Crew interaction with the NanoRack Platform is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker Insert to the ISS, installation and activation of the NanoRacks Platform into the EXPRESS Rack Locker, cleaning of the air inlet filter, as necessary, and data retrieval, as needed during the mission.

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    Results/More Information

    NASA mandated effective utilization became a high priority upon completion of the ISS. To facilitate this request, engineers developed the NanoRacks Platform to provide a straightforward method for utilization of the ISS. In addition to the NanoRacks Platform, the CubeLab (now known as the NanoLab) Standard was also placed into effect to define form-factor, mechanical and electrical interfaces, and data transfer protocols for a class of small payloads. Together, the NanoRacks Platform and the CubeLab (NanoLab) Standard provide regular, fast turn-around access, a reasonable cost, and access to an array of launch vehicles with reduced ITAR concerns by operating under Space Act Agreements with NASA (Lumpp et al 2011).

    Results Publications

      Lumpp Jr. JE, Erb DM, Clements TS, Rexroat JT, Johnson M, Johnson M.  The CubeLab Standard for Improved Access to the International Space Station. 2011 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, MT; 2011 1-6.

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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
  • Kentucky Space
  • NanoRacks LLC
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