Spacewalkers Finalizing Repairs on Dark Matter, Antimatter Detector

Astronauts assist spacewalkers
NASA astronauts Christina Koch (foreground) and Jessica Meir assist spacewalkers Luca Parmitano (left) and Andrew Morgan (right) before beginning today’s spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

Two astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:04 a.m., EST aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about six-and-a-half hours. NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan and Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) will venture outside the International Space Station to complete repairs on a cooling system for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray detector. The duo will conduct leak checks for the spectrometer’s refurbished cooling lines and complete the work to resume operations of the cosmic ray detector.

Morgan is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and with the helmet camera labeled #20. Parmitano is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #18.

During the first three spacewalks in the complex series to repair the AMS, the astronauts carefully prepared the AMS and positioned materials, installed the upgraded cooling system, completed the power and data cable connection for the system. The intricate connection work required making a clean cut for eight existing stainless steel tube cooling lines connected to the AMS then connecting it to the new system through a process of metalworking known as swaging. Following the third spacewalk, the flight control team on Earth initiated power-up and confirmed the new system was receiving power and data.

In addition to revitalizing an important piece of scientific equipment, the process of creating the tools and procedures for these spacewalks is preparing teams for the types of spacewalks that may be required on Moon and Mars missions.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. Learn more about the International Space Station online, including additional information about the current crew members.

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