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Discovery To Bring "Plug and Play" Micro-Lab To ISS 43

astroengine writes "In an effort to standardize the way we do microgravity experiments, a Kentucky-based non-profit organization has developed the 'CubeLab' (a modular, miniature laboratory) that can be plugged into a rack of 15 other CubeLabs. The first set of micro-labs will be carried to the space station by the shuttle Discovery on Monday morning's launch. The CubeLab's small design allows it to be easily shipped to and from the space station, providing a faster pace of experimentation. Also, its 'plug and play' interface means installation is a breeze. Even better is the fact the CubeLabs are developed by Kentucky students, university researchers and enthusiasts. Now they've teamed up with the Houston-based NanoRacks LLC; could this be the future of space research collaboration?"
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Discovery To Bring "Plug and Play" Micro-Lab To ISS

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 05, 2010 @09:03AM (#31732654)

    Looks like MS has done some amazing things with Internet Information Systems... it's a shame really. This stuff seems like it's work better on the International Space Station. Oh well!

    • by durrr ( 1316311 )
      As a ipad release event steve jobs bribed enough people to covertly give us the International iStation.
      A cash bounty is availible from the Jobs estate to whoever is first to update all wikipedia articles to this change.
  • Seriously, I'm curious here. Don't they already have like a dozen modules for doing experiments that they hardly use?

    What exactly are they doing up there that they'll need these new cubes for?

    • by djjockey ( 1301073 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @09:07AM (#31732682)

      Don't they already have like a dozen modules for doing experiments that they hardly use?

      Seems like IIS and ISS have more in common than you'd think.

    • by GPSguy ( 62002 )

      It's been awhile since I've been in the program, but the idea is that racks with experiments come and go via Shuttle. With the demise of Shuttle, they'll bring smaller on-orbit replaceable units. Experiments on ISS have a longer lifetime than a lot of geeks' attention span, so they get lost in the background noise. Also, it's, well, science. Often, they're long-term experiments and have to be allowed to run during the course of the experiment, but don't require a lot of tweaking.

      At the cost of space up ther

    • Space junk. Hurl it all into the sun.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 )

      The existing lab racks are being regularly used, but their schedule is full and thus cannot support rapid turn around experiments which these cubes can do.

      Which pretty much is explained right in TFA.

  • by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @09:18AM (#31732802) Homepage

    The Shuttle is going away, and with it one of the very few ways of transporting big equipment racks up & down.

    All current vehicles servicing ISS don't have the large berthing ports; Shuttle also doesn't have one...but it could carry multipurpose cargo module (equipped in one) in its bay. Soyuz, Progress, ATV, upcoming Orion...their docking ports are small. Japanese transport vehicle does have the big berthing port (and also upcoming Dragon & Cygnus), but it's good to have options...

    • by khallow ( 566160 )

      but it's good to have options...

      Sure, but the Shuttle is too expensive. At two launches a year (which would be the frequency that the Shuttle would launch at), you're looking at costs somewhere above a billion dollars a launch. That can buy a lot of shiny.

      • by sznupi ( 719324 )

        Uhm, in above case "good to have options" was meant to relate to smaller lab modules, which can be transferred through the hatch of all (hence giving more options) vehicles docking with ISS.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )
          Sorry, I misread your post.
    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      The Shuttle is going away, and with it one of the very few ways of transporting big equipment racks up & down.

      Up, not much of a problem. Progress hauls 2400 Kg up per shot (plus or minus a Raduga capsule, depending on particular variation launched, etc). That's enough for a rack full of stuff. []

      Down, BIG problem. Raduga hauls 150 Kg per shot and is physically much smaller. Also, despite being a simple reentry vehicle, vaporizes on re-entry about 1/4 of the time. Makes you wonder how reliable are soviet ICBMs. []

      • by sznupi ( 719324 )

        Yes, it can haul the weight - but you can't fit standard ISS cargo rack through it's docking port!

        And Raduga seems to had better odds than you claim. Also, remember it started from higher, almost orbital, velocity; plus depended on proper ejection from Progress.

    • by Yoozer ( 1055188 )

      Soyuz, Progress, ATV, upcoming Orion...their docking ports are small.

      "But... it's not the size of the port, it's the force of the thruster!"

    • upcoming Orion...

      There is no upcoming Orion. Obama cancelled it along with the rest of the Constellation program. NASA, and with it the US space program, is adrift and will be gutted - unless congress opposes him and reinstates things.
      • by sznupi ( 719324 )

        If this indeed will prove to be the case (not that Constellation is in trouble; that Orion will never fly), there's still the possibility of Orion Lite.

  • why not apache or nginx?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Heh... Yeah, I was wondering the same thing.

      Slashdot editors: It's ISS , which stands for International Space Station . This is not to be confused with IIS, which stands for Internet Information Server/Services.

  • Plugable space ships? We're one step closer to Homeworld 2 [] like space exploration
  • Am I the only one who, after reading the headline, wondered why a space shuttle was bringing "plug-and-play" to a web server? It's the International Space Station, a.k.a. ISS. Not the Internet Information Services, a.k.a. IIS. Yes, I am that pedantic. Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard