CubeLab Operations

The SSL works with NanoRacks LLC to provide CubeLab payload developers with a unified integration and operations schedule.  CubeLab Integration involves physical development and launch of the payload and Operations involve real-time installation and experimentation on board the International Space Station (ISS).

The SSL works with NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) to generate crew training and coordinate science requirements of CubeLabs, prior to the scheduled launch.  The SSL also works with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to plan real-time operations and support real-time operations such as installation, activation and data collection of CubeLab payloads on the ISS.  SSL has a remote CubeLab console station which is used to plan ops, support ops and support simulations of ops.  The remote CubeLab console station can be seen in the image below:

The remote ISS console station located in the Space Systems Lab at The University of Kentucky

The remote ISS console station located in the Space Systems Lab at The University of Kentucky

As of January 2011, two NanoRack Platforms and four CubeLab modules have been installed and operated in Express Rack 4 (located in the Japanese Experiment Module) of the ISS.  In addition, one CubeLab module has been returned to the SSL, disassembled, and experimental data was analyzed.


CubeLab-1, developed by Kentucky Space, interfaced with the NanoRack Platform.  Following Kentucky Space’s and NASA’s testing requirements, CubeLab-1 interfaced with the NanoRack Platform, drew power, and was configured to act as a simple flash drive.  This was to ensure the basic function of the NanoRack, providing electrical and data connectivity as well as structural support, worked in microgravity as expected.  It also tested the radiation susceptibility of SD cards, which are also used in Kentucky Space’s orbital CubeSat, KySat-1.


The primary objective of CubeLab-2 was to test the radiation susceptibility of the SD cards that are used in KySat-1.  Various shielding methods were used in an effort to find effective ways to reduce radiation susceptibility of flash memory.

CubeLab-3 and CubeLab-4

CubeLab-3 and CubeLab-4 are reflights of CubeLabs -1 and -2, respectively.

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