Experiment Cubes

Each Experiment Cube may be equipped with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, which significantly reduces the cost and duration of development and allows for the utilisation of the latest technologies.

As a customer, you will maintain ownership of both hardware and software at all times. You will develop and integrate your experiment and be responsible for the reliability and performance of your Experiment Cube.

Each Experiment Cube must be developed according to a set of interface and safety requirements specified by ICE Cubes Service. The basic size of an Experiment Cube is 1U (10cm x 10cm x 10cm). However, other form factors and customised dimensions are possible.

The Experiment Cubes will be launched in soft stowed configuration, contained inside Nomex® foam containers.

Operational Concept

While in orbit, the Experiment Cubes are operated from ground via the ICE Cubes Mission Control Centre. However, as user, you will be able to interact with your Experiment Cube at your location of choice in near real-time by using our complimentary mission control software.

Depending on your specific needs, experiment data can be provided in several ways:

Downlinked in near real-time or deferred to a later time. Or physically downloaded with a return vehicle from orbit via USB storage media.

The duration of a typical mission in orbit is of 1 month. Longer periods can be accommodated based on prior agreement. At the end of your mission, your Experiment Cube can be returned to you or be disposed in orbit.

In order to have full control over your own Experiment Cubes, you will be provided with an out-of-the-box software suite composed of:

  • VPN Client
  • FTP Client
  • Web Browser
  • Mission Control System Client
  • User Manual

The Mission Control System software is written in-house by Space Applications Services, ensuring fast and accurate support if needed.

ICE Cubes Facility

The ICE Cubes Framework accommodates Experiment Cubes and hosts the functional interfaces to the ISS infrastructure. The use of a sliding Framework and “plug-and-play” Experiment Cubes simplifies the system, thus minimizing crew time for installation/removal.