New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Access to Space for STEM Education Inspiration Through ICE Cubes

Geraldine Marien, Space Applications Services NV/SA, ICE Cubes (Belgium)

Hilde Stenuit, Space Applications Services NV/SA, ICE Cubes (Belgium)

Manuela Aguzzi, Space Application Services Belgium (Belgium)

Mauro Ricci, Space Applications Services NV/SA, ICE Cubes (Belgium)


Space is considered as the ultimate summum of inspiration for topics in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. The International Space Station (ISS) is one of the most powerful and inspiring scientific laboratories, placed in one of the most unique and least explored environments on and around our Earth and covering the widest ranges of research disciplines under one roof. This is a huge attraction for both scientists and educators, but unfortunately the use of the ISS has been until now unattractive for a large number of potential users due to the burden of complex rules, procedures, cost and duration associated with developing, certifying and operating equipment on board. Recently the International Commercial Experiment Cubes (ICE Cubes) service has been put in place as first such service in Europe to provide now fast, simplified and affordable access to the ISS under a public/private partnership with the European Space Agency. The ICE Cubes service supports the end-to-end process of experiment development and takes care of the certification for flight, launch and installation on board. This is in particular of high interest for STEM educational purposes. Once the experiment is installed in the ICE Cubes Facility the students can operate it directly from their schools via internet. Schools or classes develop their own space Experiment Cubes according to a specific set of requirements. The other interesting aspect is that the use of ICE Cubes in educational scopes allows for covering all phases, from the conception of a scientific or technological experiment to the initial design concept, to the development of the hardware and software, to real-time data gathering and related analysis afterwards. This paper will describe in detail the different possibilities in which ICE Cubes can be used for education from use in a single classroom on primary or secondary level to Master or PhD projects, from single schools to intra-school sharing concepts , and in connecting the ‘knowledge triangle’ of business, education and research. All this with the fascination of doing science in space is an unbeatable motivation trigger for STEM education.

Keywords: Space experiment, STEM, ICE Cubes, ISS;


[1] UIC-ESA-UM-001 Issue 2 Revision 0, European User Guide to Low Gravity Platforms, Erasmus User Centre and Communications Office, Directorate of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Programmes, ESA, September 2005;


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