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

Budweiser and its parent company Anheuser Busch has been sending barley seeds to the International Space Station since 2017 in hopes of learning how to brew in microgravity.  1462124 1462124

One of these cargo pieces is a new "robot hotel" that will provide a protected parking space for mission-critical robots in the ISS when they are not in use.

The hotel's first guests the Robotic External Leak Locators or RELL.

The "hotel" will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket as part of its commercial resupply mission. RELL will detect leaks and gases like ammonia.

Two RELL units are on board the station right now: the first RELL launched in 2015, and it proved to be such a success that a second RELL was launched as a backup earlier this year.

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.


More than 5,000 pounds of supplies will have to wait another day before launching to the International Space Station.

RiTS reduces the time it takes for RELL units to be deployed which can be weeks or even months by storing them externally. The robotic tools are on board the station right now. Eastern Time from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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

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.

RiTS was developed by the Satellite Servicing Projects Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in partnership with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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