Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS

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The Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) is a European-built experiment storage freezer for the International Space Station. It comprises four independent dewars which can be set to operate at different temperatures. Currently[when?] temperatures of −80°C, −26°C, and +4°C are used during on-orbit ISS operations. Both reagents and samples will be stored in the freezer. As well as storage the freezer is designed to be used to transport samples to and from the ISS in a temperature controlled environment. The total capacity of the unit is 300 litres.

Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS


The first MELFI[clarification needed] unit, FU-1, was flown to the station in 2006 on Space Shuttle mission STS-121, installed in the Destiny Laboratory Module, and commissioned by Thomas Reiter.[citation needed]

The MELFI flight units were originally designed to be flown fully powered in the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, permitting pre-made experiments to be flown to the station without contaminating or destroying any samples.

The plan[when?] was to cycle the three MELFI units between orbit and Earth.[citation needed]

The final MELFI unit was flown to the ISS on board Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-131 mission in 2010.

MELFI description[edit]

Each dewar is a cylindrical vacuum-insulated 75 litre container and can accommodate samples of a variety of sizes and shapes. The initial delivery of the unit also included a number of spare dewars.

MELFI was developed by the European Space Agency. Two units have been supplied to NASA and one to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). In addition ground units for training, experiment preparation, and use in control experiments have been built.[1]

  • Weight: 730 kg (1609 pounds)
  • Design lifetime: 10 years.

Additional cold storage[edit]

During 2007, additional cold stowage and transportation options will become available on the station, including:[2]

  • MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker/ Incubator, +37°C to -15°C) and
  • GLACIER (General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator, –80°C to –180°C).

As of June 11, 2009, MERLIN was being used aboard the station, "for cold storage of crew food and drink."[3]

As of October 2012, another GLACIER freezer was manifested to be transported to the ISS on SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services mission no. 1.[4]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "STS-121 Nasa Press Kit" NASA Press Kit - STS-121, May 2006.
  2. ^ Robinson, Julie A.; Thomas, Donald A.; Thumm, Tracy L. (2006). "NASA Utilization of the International Space Station and the Vision for Space Exploration". American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 
  3. ^ "ISS On-Orbit Status 06/11/09". NASA SOMD. June 11, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Astronaut Ice Cream Launching to Space Station". Discovery News. 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2012-10-07. 

External links[edit]