Parmitano spacewalk over - English

James Marshall
December 3, 2019

Astronauts worked to painstakingly fix a $2 billion cosmic ray detector during a space walk Monday outside the International Space Station.

Astronauts Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan are conducting their third spacewalk on Monday in a series meant to fix the ageing Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).

It was the third spacewalk in almost three weeks for Italy's Luca Parmitano and NASA's Andrew Morgan.

The spectrometer has been searching for antimatter and dark matter for eight and a half years, longer than expected. Once the new pumps are installed, the spectrometer should last the life of the space station.

Given the high stakes, Mission Control urged the spacewalkers to "take good care" of the pumps. Parmitano carried a 159-kilogram box of pumps as he headed toward the spectrometer, according to NASA live broadcast.

Lead engineer Zhan Zhand will work in tandem with the astronauts to power the system off and then on again once it is installed by Parmitano. The instrument has become alive.

The two astronauts will conduct leak checks on their fourth and final fix work.

Mission Control warned: "We still have a little way to go, but we agree".

The most challenging connection work required making a clean cut for each existing stainless steel tube connected to the AMS before connecting it to the new system through a process of metalworking known as swaging, according to NASA. With two supply ships being readied for launch this week to the space station - from Cape Canaveral and Kazakhstan - it's uncertain when the final spacewalk will occur. It has since studied more than 148 billion charged cosmic rays.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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