NASA to launch a 'robot hotel' on the International Space Station


TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Living conditions for both astronauts and robots are set to improve soon once NASA's "Robotic Tool Stowage" unit (RiTS) makes its way to the ISS.

RTS will serve more like a parking spot for robots, first of which will be two Robotic External Leak Locators (RELL). These are currently assigned to spot leaks on the outside hull of the ISS and will now be stored in their own "robot hotel" to protect them from space radiation and debris.

Using the tool stowage unit will bring plenty of benefits, chief among which is additional room for astronauts inside the ISS to store other equipment, perform research and carry out activities more comfortably. Interior space in such facilities is at a premium, after all.

Another plus is the faster and easier process of putting the robots to use. Since RiTS stores them externally, astronauts will no longer need to spend hours calibrating the robots for external conditions; instead, the ISS' Dextre robotic arm will allow them to quickly retrieve the robots and put them to work.

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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
My only question is: Why were they inside to begin with?

If interior space is at a premium, why weren't they initially stored outside?