The General Laboratory Active Cryogenic International Space Station (ISS) Experiment Refrigerator (GLACIER) refrigerators are ultra-cold freezers that will store samples at temperatures as low as -160 °C (-301 °F).Facility Manager(s)
University of Alabama at Birmingham - Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering, Birmingham, AL, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Expeditions Assigned
17,18,19/20,21/22,23/24,29/30,35/36,37/38Previous ISS Missions
The General Laboratory Active Cryogenic International Space Station (ISS) Experiment Refrigerator (GLACIER) is a rear-breathing or water-cooled cryogenic freezer that provides cryogenic transportation and preservation of samples requiring temperatures between +4 °C (39 °F) and -160 °C (-301 °F). The cold volume of the unit has a generic design that allows multiple types of science samples requiring cryogenic thermal storage to use the GLACIER.
The GLACIER is a double-locker-equivalent unit that can be operated in the space shuttle middeck or an EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack. It can be transported in the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) in soft stowage or hard mounted in an EXPRESS Transportation Rack (ETR).
The GLACIER incorporates a cold volume sample storage area of 23.1 cm (10.75 in.) x 27.94 cm (11.00 in.) x 41.91 cm (16.5 in.). It is capable of supporting 10 kg (22 lb) of experiment samples and has an internal cold volume of 20 L. The GLACIER can maintain a temperature of -160 °C (-256 °F) for 6 to 8 hours without power if it has been operating at -160 °C (-301 °F) prior to the power outage.
The cold volume is configured such that sample access and volume configuration may be varied for each sample type. The cold volume is separated from the external environment by two doors. The outer door provides insulation and strength to withstand crew-applied loads, while the inner door is divided into four insulated aperture doors. Both the inner and outer doors are designed to allow access to the cold volume when the GLACIER is installed in the space shuttle middeck. This dual door configuration allows easy access to each sample type and will accommodate the 2-minute on-orbit access requirement. Also, the dual-door configuration allows for simple reconfiguration both on the ground and on-orbit to accommodate different sample types or a combination of sample types. Thus, the GLACIER will be compatible with the requirement for reconfiguration of the cold volume on the ground and on-orbit.
The General Laboratory Active Cryogenic International Space Station (ISS) Experiment Refrigerator (GLACIER) may be activated onboard the space shuttle or after being transferred from the space shuttle to the ISS. Depending on the types of samples placed in the GLACIER, it can be used as a refrigerator or freezer with temperature capabilities of +4 °C (39 °F) and -160 °C (-301 °F). The crew can perform maintenance and monitor the hardware. The GLACIER can also be commanded and monitored from the ground.