The International Space Station’s cosmic particle detector, in operation since 2011, will get its first repair job during a series of spacewalks set to start this Friday. The Expedition 61 crew is gearing up for the spacewalk while ensuring ongoing advanced space research.
Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) will lead at least four excursions into the vacuum of space to upgrade the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will assist the commander as they cut and reconnect fluid lines on the AMS’ thermal control system. The AMS captures cosmic particles and measures their electrical charge in its search for antimatter and dark matter.
NASA TV begins its live spacewalk coverage Friday at 5:30 a.m. EST. Parmitano and Morgan will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 7:05 a.m. signifying the start of their spacewalk.
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will support the duo on Friday. Meir will be in charge of the Canadarm2 robotic arm while Koch manages the U.S. spacesuits. All four astronauts gathered today and reviewed robotics procedures for the spacewalk repairs.
Life science and space physics also took up a portion of the crew’s schedule today. Koch checked out hardware on a 3-D bioprinter and watered plants as Meir fed lab mice. Morgan and Parmitano serviced biology and fluids research gear.
In the Russian segment of the station, a pair of cosmonauts packed a resupply ship for its Nov. 29 departure while working science and life support maintenance. Flight Engineer Alexander Skvortsov researched plasma crystals for an experiment that may inform future spacecraft designs. Oleg Skripochka checked the Zarya module’s power supply system before plumbing work and computer maintenance.