NASA will connect a robot hotel to the space station
WASHINGTON: Pot It is connecting a robot hotel to the outside with the next launch of Robotic Tool Stowage (RiTS), a protective storage unit for critical robotic tools.
RiTS will launch Wednesday aboard the 19th commercial refueling mission.
Its first residents will be two Robotic External Leak Locators (RELL). Equipped with mass spectrometers capable of detecting the presence of gases such as, these robotic tools are used to detect station leaks.
Two RELL units are on board the station at this time: the first RELL launched in 2015, and a second RELL was launched as a backup earlier this year.
For each of its stored tools, RiTS will provide thermal and physical protection against radiation and micrometeroids, or small, high-speed objects that rush through space, RiTS hardware manager Mark Neuman said in a statement.
“Its thermal system maintains ideal temperatures for the instruments, helping them stay functional,” Neuman said. Having this housing unit in place will also help the space station's robotic arm, , to easily locate, grab and put back these important tools, Pot said.