A student working with SABL.SABL is an incubator in use aboard the International Space Station for conducting cell culture and other biological experiments. SABL provides researchers with advanced incubator technology and supports a wide variety of experiments for the development of applications on Earth by pharmaceutical, biotechnology and agribusiness companies.

It was designed to enhance the capabilities of the ISS's prior incubator, the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA), which was also developed by BioServe. Several important design improvements include:

  • It's quiet. Rather than using loud air fans, SABL quietly cools its system through circulating water through tubes. This design modification makes the incubator less disruptive for astronauts.
  • It's user-friendly. SABL includes the first color touch screen on the ISS which, through robustness and ease of use, reduces required crew time for operation. It also includes easy access to the experiment volume via the front of the payload without the need to power down or remove power or data cables. 
  • It's efficient. SABL takes less time to cool to the desired temperature, and can reach temperatures between -5 and +40 C (23 to 104 F). 
  • It's spacious. SABL has a larger experiment volume so more cultures can be grown concurrently. 

Three SABL units are currently in use on ISS.

SABL on board ISS.
Two SABL units (inside highlighted yellow rectangle) aboard ISS.

NASA information page on SABL