NASA launching a ‘robot hotel’ to the space station

04 Décembre, 2019, 20:56 | Auteur: Therese Cote

The mission, which will also include more than 250 science experiments, is looking to take off at 12:51 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's launch complex 40 - if the weather cooperates.

NASA said the mission will carry a hyperspectral imaging system for the Japanese government capable of scanning the Earth's surface for types of geologic processes in mineral and oil resource exploration.

The CRS-19 mission is SpaceX's 12th launch of 2019.

There is, however, a risk of strong upper level winds, Air Force and SpaceX officials said.

SpaceX said it would try again early Thursday afternoon. "We won't know until tomorrow".

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During Wednesday's mission, the Dragon capsule will separate from the rocket nine minutes after liftoff, according to SpaceX, which projects that it will attach to the space station on December 7.

Along with a thermal system to maintain ideal temperature, Mark Neuman, RiTS hardware manager explained, "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". "The Japanese airlock for equipment is very popular, very busy". Its first residents will be two Robotic External Leak Locators (RELL). The units have to wait 12 hours in space so that gas detectors are clean from gases in the space station.

The "hotel" is formally known as the "Robotic Tool Stowage", or the RiTS, slightly less glamorous sounding than "hotel". The robotic tools are on board the station right now. Twenty seeds will be sprouted or grown out.

If Dragon launches Wednesday, it will dock with the ISS on Saturday and spend about a month there. Following the launch, SpaceX hopes to recover the Falcon 9 to reuse for future missions.

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