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.[1]

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.[2]

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

Additional cold stowage[edit]

Additional cold stowage and transportation options available are listed below:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) Factsheet" (PDF). European Space Agency Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "STS-121 Nasa Press Kit" NASA Press Kit - STS-121, May 2006.

External links[edit]