Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Electrical Engineering (MEE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. James Lumpp, Jr.


The CubeLab is a new payload standard that greatly improves access to the International Space Station (ISS) for small, rapid turn-around microgravity experiments. CubeLabs are small (less than 16”x8”x4” and under 10kg) modular payloads that interface with the NanoRacks Platform aboard the ISS. CubeLabs receive power from the station and transfer data using the standard terrestrial plug-and-play Universal Serial Bus (USB). The Space Plug-and-play Avionics (SPA) architecture is a modular technology for spacecraft that provides an infrastructure for modular satellite components to reduce the time to orbit and development costs for satellites. This paper describes the development of a bus capable of interfacing SPA-1 payloads in the CubeLab form-factor aboard the ISS. This CubeLab also provides the “discover and join” functionality that is necessary for a SPA-1 network of devices. This will ultimately provide persistent SPA capabilities on the ISS which will allow users to send SPA-1 devices to orbit for on-the-fly installation by astronauts.