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Tuesday, January 28, 2020


It has been 20 years since the International Space Station went into space.  Since then numerous spacewalks have been performed.  This past week, according to NASA via NPR reporting, NASA flight engineer Andrew Morgan and the commander of the space station's Expedition 61, Luca Parmitano, European Space Agency, performed spacewalk leak checks on the installation of a new cooling system intended to extend the lifespan of the “outdoor” Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer dark matter and antimatter detector.
They are being assisted by two other Expedition 61 crew members, NASA flight engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, who are operating a Canadarm2 robotic arm capable of fine-tuned maneuvers. Note image links above do not work on tweet repost.  See for latest on all things NASA.
The AMS, as the cosmic ray detector is known, was installed externally to the ISS about nine years ago on the spacecraft and was designed to function for only three years. It was not meant to be serviced in flight.

Twenty new tools were developed specifically for installing the new cooling system, which involved clean cuts of eight stainless steel tubes attached to a defective cooling system and the welding of new tubes to them from the replacement system. "It sounds easy, especially if you're on the ground and have lots of different tools that you need, but it's not an area that was set up for spacewalking in any manner," said NASA. 

But the scientific data collected by the AMS — to date, it has recorded more than 140 billion particles passing through its detectors, nine million which have been identified as the electrons or positrons that compose antimatter — have proven so valuable that NASA scientists now aim to keep it operating for the full 11 years of a complete solar cycle in order to better understand the possible impact of solar radiation variation on astronauts traveling to Mars, said NASA.

For spacewalk work on video 263 miles above Africa click here.
Astronaut Andrew uses helmet camera to photograph Astronaut Luca

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