Nebula Public Library

The knowledge bank of ESA’s R&D programmes

On-board control unit for ICE Cubes experiments

Programme Reference
Prime Contractor
N7 Space
Start Date
End Date
On-board control unit for ICE Cubes experiments
The objective of this activity is to develop a dedicated on-board computer along with control software responsible for management and commanding of the technological experiments hosted in ICE Cubes.
ICE Cube Facility allows to deploy in space small IoDs/Experiments. The facility requires that the experiments shall follow a specific interface (Interface Requirement Document), both in terms of electrical and mechanical aspects.
There is a number of developed IoDs/Experiments that would benefit from deploying inside ISS. Those developments require a controller (dedicated on-board computer) that would be capable of communicating with ICE Cube Facility and interface with a number of experiments developed under different activities. Currently there is no such a development, and existing solutions are rather ad-hoc and mission specific. The benefit of this activity would be to develop generic controller that could be reused in various ICE Cubes.
The activity should focus on analysis of ICE Cube interface requirements document (IRD) to understand what specification should have the experiment controller and the ICE Cube itself. Then, after analysis of needs of available IoDs/Experiments, a general architecture for the ICE Cube experiment controller should be proposed. The development should be based on previous developments to quickly assemble the ICE Cube Facility Experiment controller.
In particular, the activity should focus on:
    • Defining the interface to ICE Cube Facility, ;
    • Defining (general enough) the interface to exemplary experiments (e.g. ;
CHIMERA, Myriad2 Payload on MANTIS, Myriad2 on HyperScout-2, SPACEPPP, LEO PNT, Payload X etc.). This should also take into account fact, that experiments might not be latch-up immune.
    • Defining operational scenario for interfacing various payloads inside one ICE Cube, ;
    • Developing an EM model based on COTS components, but having Rad ;
Tolerant substitutes identified,
    • Developing two EQMs based on Rad Tolerant Components or COTS components, ;;
    • Developing a Breadboard of the mechanical structure. ;
Application Domain
Generic Technologies
Technology Domain
5 - Space System Control
Competence Domain
3-Avionic Systems
Initial TRL
Target TRL
Public Document