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Space Access ’11: NanoRacks

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
April 8, 2011
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Rich Pounelle

  • adopted a CubeSat approach to experiment racks — plug-and-play microgravity experiments
  • basic cost of $25,000 for 30 days on the International Space Station for education, $50,000 for commercial
  • payload is placed in a small camera bag — easy to get packed into a Progress or Soyuz — always room for one more small thing
  • Plenty of capacity on the ISS — getting a full payload rack up to the station is very expensive — shrink them down to a smaller size
  • NanoRacks acts as the main point of contact for the customer — don’t have to deal directly with NASA
  • More than 50 payloads in the pipeline
  • Price is low enough that schools can put experiments into orbit
  • Difficult to get payloads to the ground, but easy to get the data back — high data speeds
  • Working on an external rack on the station
  • Working with Masten and other groups to be single point of contact between experimenters and providers — the same type of work they do with NASA
  • Great example of how if you keep pushing on something, you can be successful and how commercial groups can help NASA to leverage its assets
  • As community develops, wants to develop common standards for data and payloads — open source
  • Three international customers — experiments fall into a gray area in terms of ITAR restrictions

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