Spacewalkers splice in new pumps to fix AMS cosmic ray detector –

— Astronauts properly transplanted a new coolant pump program outside of the Global Place Station, finishing the 3rd in a series of at the very least 4 tough spacewalks to repair service a $two billion cosmic ray detector.

Luca Parmitano of the European Area Agency (ESA) and Andrew Morgan with NASA ongoing undertaking “surgical treatment” on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) on Monday (Dec. two), two months right after they commenced the complicated hard work to replace the cooling system for the state-of-the-art science instrument. The AMS, which was set up in 2011 to lookup for “dim make any difference” and “darkish strength,” was in threat of staying completely disabled experienced the Upgraded Tracker Thermal Pump System (UTTPS) not been mounted.

Starting their spacewalk at six: 31 a.m. EST (1131 GMT), Parmitano and Morgan first labored to mount and join the new, 350-pound (159-kilogram) UTTPS to the AMS.

“Ok Luca, you’ve obtained every little thing related. We’re heading to electricity up the box if you are good with that,” radioed Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, who guided the spacewalkers by way of their operate from within Mission Handle in Houston.

“I am pretty content with that,” replied Parmitano. “Crossing my gloved fingers and my booted toes.”

The AMS was released with 4 carbon dioxide coolant pumps needed to keep its detectors at the right temperature to perform. Those pumps commenced failing in 2014, leaving just a single working when the spacewalks to incorporate the upgraded pump module started in November. Experienced very little been finished, the remaining unique pump was expected to fail within a matter of months.

Immediately after enabling the time for flight controllers to configure and confirm the installation, Hansen reported the spacewalkers’ accomplishment.

“We have superior perception into the new pump box. We have good electrical power, fantastic tension and we can inform the refill valve is open, so that is outstanding,” Hansen reported.

“Alright! That warms my fingertips — that and the glove heaters,” joked Parmitano.

With the new module in location and driven, Parmitano and Morgan turned their emphasis to connecting the UTTPS lines to the AMS. Returning to their preceding work sites from their EVAs carried out on Nov. 15 and Nov. 22, Parmitano utilised some of the a lot more than 20 specialised applications made for this collection of restore spacewalks to swage the initial stainless metal tubes with the new feed strains.

“Now the remarkable tolerance section,” reported Hansen, describing the do the job to splice the strains. “We will choose our time with this as this is just what we arrived out to do today.”

Parmitano, assisted by Morgan, very first utilised a device referred to as a “clear cutter” to uniformly lower the smaller metal tubes that had been around severed for the duration of their second spacewalk. He then applied a “tube straightener” to assure the ends would align, ahead of attaching an “alternate tube fitting” that pinched the mated strains for a fantastic suit.

Parmitano and Morgan diligently repeated the reducing, straightening and pinching approach eight instances — six occasions doing work with tubes on a single facet of the AMS and then twice with tubes on the other. Parmitano, doing the job from a perch at the conclusion of the room station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm, and Morgan, tethered but absolutely free floating around him, done the splice do the job four hrs and 40 minutes into the 6 hour and 2 moment EVA.

“This one’s for the AMS crew that has been operating on this for the last 4 many years,” stated Morgan as the eighth and last coolant tube was swaged.

The AMS was not built to be labored on in place and is positioned substantial atop the station’s truss, generating the restore the most elaborate spacewalks in the decade since the final servicing of the Hubble Place Telescope in 2009.

“Human spaceflight is about technologies, science and exploration,” said Parmitano as soon as he was back within the airlock. “I think that now, as we did the EVA, we variety of place to apply the a few of them.”

“Technological know-how, it concerned not only the development of the pump, but also the truth that we could set up it and swage tubes that we experienced slash particularly for this task,” explained Parmitano. “Science, naturally, is placing all this get the job done into restarting AMS, the most crucial astrophysics instrument on the Global House Station and with any luck , providing it numerous, a lot of additional decades of science.”

“And exploration, for the reason that science is exploration in this scenario. We are exploring the furthest and most unexplored components of the universe by proxy working with science.”

On their up coming spacewalk dedicated to the AMS, Parmitano and Morgan will clear up their function region and get ready the system to resume procedure. A date for that fourth and quite possibly final EVA in this sequence is nonetheless to be scheduled, however probably will not be ahead of the new yr.

Monday’s spacewalk, which finished at 12: 33 p.m. EST (1733 GMT), was the 224th in assistance of area station assembly and routine maintenance due to the fact 1998 and the 11th this calendar year. It was the fifth occupation spacewalk for Parmitano and the sixth for Morgan.

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