ICE Cubes - International Commercial Experiment Cubes


In the short timeframe of one year, you can get your personally designed experiment on board the International Space Station (ISS) All you have to do is develop the experiment and ICE Cubes takes care of the rest.

ICE Cubes Service is a service created by Space Applications Services to provide regular, rapid, simple, low-cost & direct access to the International Space Station (ISS) as of 2018.

ICE Cubes Service provides a facility that is accommodated within the European Columbus module of the ISS. This facility can accommodate 20 cubes which are small “plug-and-play” experiments housed in a standard unit size housing called 1U and measuring 10x10x10 cm. Multiple units can be merged, however, in order to have a bigger volume and save costs. The inner parts of the cube can be made from Custom Off The Shelf (COTS) parts, which are readily available and relatively cheap. The whole of the cube is designed by the user on the ground and once the cube is installed on-board in ISS, it will be fully controllable in real time from the user’s home location, classroom or desk via the Internet.

While you take care of the development of your Experiment Cube, the service offered takes care of flight certification, launch and operations in orbit.

The ICE Cubes Service can be used directly by schools/teachers, but it is also available as a supporting platform for multiple projects. External organisations that want to organise an educational project within a microgravity environment can make use of the service as well as individual schools or teachers.

Basic information

Country: Belgium

Coordinator: Space Applications Services

  • N/A

Programme: Horizon 2020

Project Acronym:

Target groups: college students, industry, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, university students, university lecturers, vocational school students, youth clubs

Topic: Astronautics, Astronomy, Applied sciences, Engineering, Materials science, Microtechnology, Physics, Technology, Education

Start year: 2017


Contact person: ICE Cubes Communication Team Email icecubes (at)

No information for researchers is available at this moment.

The ICE Cubes service can be used in several ways in the frame of education. Here are some examples:

  • A cube could be designed by a school/group of schools with a general physical experiment showcasing the effect of microgravity/gravity. Once the cube is on board the ISS, access to the cube could be shared by several classes/schools to make the most of the available time and share the cost of development of the cube.
  • One teacher could develop a cube with one of the older student classes to go through an engineering development phase of an instrument and the technology needed for the development together with the students. Once on board the ISS, the designed cube could then be used in the same class or throughout the school for microgravity science analysis on different learning levels.
  • A cube design competition could be organised by a school or external entity. The competition could be held among students, classes or different schools to come up with the most interesting concept. The prize for the contest could then be to have the winning design developed, but access to the launched cube could still be granted to all participants.
  • Many more educational uses can be thought of. The limit of the application of the ICE Cubes is your own ingenuity!

Do you have an idea? Wonder if it is feasible? Do not hesitate to contact ICE Cubes and shoot us your wildest imagining for educational projects or cube design.


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