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. The unit is created to protect robots that will be working on the International Space Station when they aren't in use.
Initially, the robot hotel will host two Robotic External Leak Locators (RELL) that are used to detect leaks outside the ISS.
Once the Dragon is captured, mission control in Houston will send commands to the station's giant arm to rotate and place it on the bottom of the space station's Harmony port.
It's one of many experiments and supplies hitching a ride to the station on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket including a fleet of mice used for muscle degeneration research and an AI-powered robot that will help astronauts on board the station. 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.
Deploying detection robots usually takes much longer when the tool is not externally stored. This way, the deployment will only depend on the availability of Dextre, which can then easily locate the tool.
"For each of its stored tools, RiTS will provide heat and physical protection from radiation and micrometeoroids, or tiny, high-speed objects hurtling through space", RiTS hardware manager Mark Neuman said in a statement.
NASA plans on employing RiTS and RELL systems on the Lunar Gateway and human habitats on other planets.