NASA to launch 'robot hotel' to Int'l Space Station

Eloise Marshall
December 5, 2019

Following the launch, SpaceX hopes to recover the Falcon 9 to reuse for future missions.

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

Today was going to be another big day for SpaceX, with a launch to the International Space Station scheduled for midday.

The hotel, RiTS will be attached to the outside of the ISS to create and save storage on the inside.

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Up until now, the RELLs have been stored within the ISS when they're not being used, however, as space is limited in the Space Station this external method of storing the robots will be a welcome addition.

RELL units take an extended amount of time to be deployed. 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. It depends on the availability of mission controllers on the ground and station crew.

To keep spacecraft like the International Space Station cool, NASA uses a complicated network of ammonia pumps, reservoirs and radiators - like a much more advanced housing air conditioning system. That will mean such equipment will be in tip-top shape for spacewalks, but it will also free up room inside the station and avoid the need to carry such tools through the equipment airlocks. The leak detectors have mass spectrometers that can find leaks from the space station, NASA officials said.

The robot hotel is more formally known as the "Robotic Tool Stowage" unit, or the RiTS for short, because NASA loves nothing quite so much as it loves acronyms.

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