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Jul 23

NASA’s ‘Robot Hotel’ Gets Its Occupants

Storage is just as important aboard the International Space Station as it is on Earth. While the space station is about the size of a football field, the living space inside is much smaller than that. Just as you wouldn’t store garden tools in a house when you could store them in a shed outside, astronauts now have a “housing unit” in which they can store tools for use on the exterior of the space station.

On Dec. 5, 2019, a protective storage unit for robotic tools called Robotic Tool Stowage (RiTS) was among the items launched to station as part of SpaceX’s 19th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. As part of a spacewalk on July 21, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Chris Cassidy installed the “robot hotel” where the tools are stored to the station’s Mobile Base System (MBS), where it will remain a permanent fixture. The MBS is a moveable platform that provides power to the external robots. This special location allows RiTS to traverse around the station alongside a robot that will use the tools it stores.

The Mobile Base System moves on the Mobile Transporter rail car along truss rails covering the length of the space station. It provides a movable platform for Canadarm2 and Dextre and can access any of eight worksites that feature power connections.

Source: NASA