Watch SpaceX launch a twice-flown Dragon capsule to the ISS live

SpaceX Rocket Launch From Cape Canaveral, Florida On December 4, 2019

SpaceX Rocket Launch From Cape Canaveral, Florida On December 4, 2019

As launch day moves closer and closer, weather looks promising for Wednesday's mission.

SpaceX and NASA like to send some funny things to the International Space Station, but what's more amusing than a "Robot Hotel" hitching a ride on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket?

Its first residents will be two Robotic External Leak Locators (RELL).

NASA has announced that SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will be transporting NASA's "robot hotel", or more formally known as the "Robotic Tool Stowage" unit.

Along with a thermal system to maintain ideal temperature, Mark Neuman, RiTS hardware manager explained, "For each of its stored tools, RiTS will provide heat and physical protection from radiation and micrometeoroids, or tiny, high-speed objects hurtling through space". Once outside the station, those detectors now need to wait 12 hours in space to clear itself of water vapor and other gases from inside the station. Because their new storage environment is already external, it'll be much easier and quicker for the station's Dextre robotic arm to retrieve them and set them to work.

After its launch, the RiTS will be installed via a spacewalk by astronauts, and it will then stay on the outside of the station.

Following this launch, Boeing is set to send its Starliner capsule atop United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket no earlier than 7:47 a.m. December 17 from Launch Complex 41 to the space station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

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