Published: Thu, December 05, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Launch of CRS-19 cargo freighter to ISS delayed

Launch of CRS-19 cargo freighter to ISS delayed

The first robots to grace the RiTS will be two Robotic External Leak Locators (RELL), and they do precisely what their name suggests: find leaks on the outside hull of the ISS.

SpaceX's CRS-19 mission on the pad ahead of liftoff from Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral on Thursday afternoon to resupply the International Space Station.

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RELL is a robotic tool operated remotely by mission controllers on the ground, created to facilitate space station repairs, but requires crew schedule and airlock availability to bring RELL outside the station with the use of station's Dextre robotic tool. Also, it will help the space station's robotic arm, Dextre, easily locate, grab and put back those robotic tools. And in the past, they've been stored inside the ISS when not in use, but space is at a premium in the station itself, so any time you can save some it's good news for astronauts and for ongoing research and other equipment. The units have to wait 12 hours in space so that gas detectors are clean from gases in the space station.

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

Shortly before the launch was scheduled to take place, SpaceX was forced to scrub the mission due to high upper-level winds and potentially hazardous conditions at sea, where SpaceX's drone ship was to be positioned. Since that time, Atwell has followed his dreams and has covered events dealing with NASA's Commercial Crew flight assignments at NASA's Johnson Space Center and other space-related events in the Lone Star State.

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