NASA launches a ‘Robot Hotel’ on the International Space Station

SpaceX Rocket Launch CRS-19 Cape Canaveral Florida

SpaceX Rocket Launch CRS-19 Cape Canaveral Florida

Today, Wednesday 4, December, NASA is sending what they're calling a "robot hotel" up to the International Space Station (ISS).

Two robotic leak detectors will be stored in the toolbox, for example.

The "hotel" is formally known as the "Robotic Tool Stowage", or the RiTS, slightly less glamorous sounding than "hotel".

RELL was first launched in 2015 and was so successful that it launched a second one this year for backup.

RiTS reduces the time it takes for RELL units to be deployed which can be weeks or even months by storing them externally. The name explains exactly what they are used for - finding leaks on the external hull of the International Space Station. It depends on the availability of mission controllers on the ground and station crew.

This vast network has thousands of feet of tubing and hundreds of joints.

However, over its lifetime, the space station has accumulated occasional small ammonia leaks at its joints, often as a result of micrometeroids.

NASA leaders won't confirm it, but say the payload from the cargo ship could include some Christmas presents for the crew that has been living in orbit.

After its launch, RiTS will be installed through a special spacewalk by astronauts, and it will then stay on the outside of the station. It also needs to be bought outside the space station using the Dextre robotic arm- used to perform maintenance operations.

Northrop Grumman is Nasa's other private shipper.

The new place of residence for these robots was developed by the Satellite Servicing Projects Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland in collaboration with the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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