NanoRacks Platforms


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

Facility Overview

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Brief Facility Summary

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

Facility Manager(s)

Information Pending

Co-Facility Manager(s)

Information Pending

Facility Developer(s)

NanoRacks, LLC, Laguna Woods, CA, United States

Sponsoring Agency

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Expeditions Assigned


Previous ISS Missions

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

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Facility Description

Facility Overview

  • NanoRacks-CubeLabs Platforms provide power and data transfer capabilities for NanoRacks-CubeLabs Modules.

  • The NanoRacks-CubeLabs Modules function as an experiment platform, are provided in multiple sizes and can plug into the NanoRacks-CubeLabs Platform facilities for power and data transfer, or operate separately.


NanoRacks-CubeLabs Platforms is a multipurpose research facility providing power and data transfer capability to the NanoRacks-CubeLabs Modules. Each NanoRacks-CubeLabs Platform is approximately 17 x 9 x 20 inches and weighs approximately 12 lbs. NanoRacks-CubeLabs is 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-CubeLabs Platforms are installed in EXPRESS Rack inserts to supply power and USB data transfer capability for NanoRacks-CubeLabs Modules. Each NanoRacks-CubeLabs Module must conform to a standard size of approximately 4 x 4 x 4 inches and weigh 2.2 lbs. Every NanoRacks-CubeLabs Module has a different educational or industrial researcher, the experiments supported cover a wide range of disciplines, some NanoRacks-CubeLabs Modules serve as sorties.

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Facility Operations

An ISS crewmember powers down the NanoRacks-CubeLabs Platform and then plugs in the resupplied NanoRacks-CubeLabs Modules. The NanoRacks-CubeLabs Platform is powered up, and the data cable between the associated USB port on the NanoRacks-CubeLabs Platform front panel and an EXPRESS Laptop computer is plugged in to collect data and download at designated times.

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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).

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Information Pending

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Results Publications

    Lumpp Jr. JE., Erb DM, Clements TS, Rexroat JT, Johnson M.  The CubeLab Standard for Improved Access to the International Space Station. 2011 IEEE Aerospace Conference. Big Sky, MT. 2011; 1689: 1-6. DOI: 10.1109/AERO.2011.5747232.

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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
  • NanoRacks LLC
  • Kentucky Space
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