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Glacier is a cryogenic freezer/ refrigerator system that provides a generic interface to accommodate multiple biological sample types and volumes that require thermal control between ‑160oC and +4oC while on the International Space Station (ISS). 

Originally designed for transport onboard the Space Shuttle, Glacier is now transported to/from ISS within the SpaceX Dragon capsule. With the limited resources provided within the Dragon, Glacier is capable of providing thermal control between -95oC and 4o Glacier may alternatively fly unpowered and soft-stowed inside Northrup Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, JAXA's HTV or ESA's ATV. There are 8 Glacier units available for flight use.

When not in transit to/from the ISS, Glacier operates within the EXPRESS Rack onboard the ISS. When installed in the EXPRESS Rack, Glacier communicates with the Rack Interface Controller (RIC) to receive operational commands from and provide telemetry to the ground systems. The resources provided by the EXPRESS Rack also allow for operation across Glacier's full thermal control range.

Glacier can accommodate up to 36 lbs. of sample mass in two different configurations. The first configuration consists of four sample trays for smaller sample sizes. The second configuration consists of two larger trays which are designed to store experimental samples too large to fit in trays in the first configuration.




Imperial (in)

Metric (cm)

Strict Internal Dimmension 7.4 x 7.8 x 10.6 18.7 x 19.7 x 26.8
Total Internal Dimmension 7.1 x 7.3 x 9.9 17.9 x 18.5 x 25.2



Imperial (in3)

Metric (L)

Strict Internal Volume 511.13 8.38
Total Internal Volume 597.581 9.79





Water Cooled 4° to -160° 39.2° to -256°
Air Cooled 4° to -95° 39.2° to -139°