Spacewalkers splice in fresh pumps to restore AMS cosmic ray detector –
December 2, 2019 — Astronauts successfully transplanted a new coolant pump system outside of the International Space Station, completing the third in a series of at least four challenging spacewalks to repair a $2 billion cosmic ray detector. Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Andrew Morgan with NASA continued performing "surgery" on…
December 2, 2019

— Astronauts efficiently transplanted a fresh coolant pump contrivance out of doorways of the World Space Space, finishing the third in a collection of no longer decrease than four provocative spacewalks to restore a $2 billion cosmic ray detector.

Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Andrew Morgan with NASA persisted performing “surgical treatment” on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) on Monday (Dec. 2), two weeks after they started the complicated effort to interchange the cooling contrivance for the train-of-the-artwork science instrument. The AMS, which became installed in 2011 to leer “darkish topic” and “darkish vitality,” became in risk of being permanently disabled had the Upgraded Tracker Thermal Pump System (UTTPS) no longer been installed.

Origin their spacewalk at 6:31 a.m. EST (1131 GMT), Parmitano and Morgan first worked to mount and repair the fresh, 350-pound (159-kilogram) UTTPS to the AMS.

“Ok Luca, you’ve got got purchased the whole lot connected. We are going to energy up the field whereas you are factual with that,” radioed Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, who guided the spacewalkers via their work from inner Mission Adjust in Houston.

“I’m very satisfied with that,” answered Parmitano. “Crossing my gloved fingers and my booted toes.”

The AMS became launched with four carbon dioxide coolant pumps needed to defend its detectors at the qualified temperature to characteristic. These pumps started failing in 2014, leaving reliable one working when the spacewalks so as to add the upgraded pump module started in November. Had nothing been done, the final usual pump became anticipated to fail within a topic of months.

After allowing the time for flight controllers to configure and verify the set up, Hansen reported the spacewalkers’ success.

“We’ve factual perception into the fresh pump field. We’ve factual energy, factual stress and we can uncover the stock up valve is start, in speak that is tremendous,” Hansen acknowledged.

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

With the fresh module in design and powered, Parmitano and Morgan grew to alter into their focal point to connecting the UTTPS lines to the AMS. Returning to their old work websites from their EVAs completed on Nov. 15 and Nov. 22, Parmitano mature one of the most most extra than 20 basically fair appropriate tools designed for this collection of restore spacewalks to swage the usual stainless metallic tubes with the fresh feed lines.

“Now the unprecedented patience portion,” acknowledged Hansen, describing the work to splice the lines. “We are in a position to purchase our time with this as this is precisely what we came out to attain this day.”

Parmitano, assisted by Morgan, first mature a instrument known as a “super cutter” to uniformly nick the shrimp metallic tubes that had been roughly severed all the way via their 2nd spacewalk. He then mature a “tube straightener” to construct particular that the ends would align, sooner than attaching an “alternate tube fitting” that pinched the mated lines for a factual match.

Parmitano and Morgan fastidiously repeated the reducing, straightening and pinching process eight times — six times working with tubes on one side of the AMS and then twice with tubes on the assorted. Parmitano, working from a perch at the discontinue of the condominium design’s Canadarm2 robotic arm, and Morgan, tethered but free floating near him, done the splice work four hours and Forty minutes into the 6 hour and a pair of minute EVA.

“This one’s for the AMS personnel that has been engaged on this for the closing four years,” acknowledged Morgan as the eighth and final coolant tube became swaged.

The AMS became no longer designed to be worked on in condominium and is positioned high atop the design’s truss, making the restore the most complicated spacewalks in the final decade since the final servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009.

“Human spaceflight is about technology, science and exploration,” acknowledged Parmitano once he became support within the airlock. “I believe that this day, as we did the EVA, we kind of salvage to practice the three of them.”

“Know-how, it alive to no longer handiest the reach of the pump, but moreover the fact that we might possibly well moreover install it and swage tubes that we had nick namely for this job,” acknowledged Parmitano. “Science, clearly, is striking all this work into restarting AMS, the ideal astrophysics instrument on the World Space Space and with any luck giving it many, many extra years of science.”

“And exploration, because science is exploration on this case. We are exploring the furthest and most unexplored capabilities of the universe by proxy the state of science.”

On their next spacewalk devoted to the AMS, Parmitano and Morgan will super up their work condominium and put collectively the instrument to renew operation. A date for that fourth and presumably closing EVA on this collection is silent to be scheduled, despite the incontrovertible truth that doubtless might possibly well moreover no longer be sooner than the fresh year.

Monday’s spacewalk, which ended at 12:33 p.m. EST (1733 GMT), became the 224th in make stronger of condominium design assembly and repairs since 1998 and the Eleventh this year. It became the fifth career spacewalk for Parmitano and the sixth for Morgan.


Astronauts Luca Parmitano (in foreground) and Drew Morgan work out of doorways the World Space Space on Dec. 2, 2019. Parmitano, positioned at the discontinue of the design’s Canadarm2 robotic arm, is holding the fresh pump module for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) cosmic ray detector. (NASA TV)

Astronaut Luca Parmitano, restrained at the discontinue of the World Space Space’s Canadarm2 robotic arm, strikes the fresh coolant pump module for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) all the way via a spacewalk to restore the cosmic ray detector on Dec. 2. (NASA TV)

As seen from the standpoint of his helmet camera, Luca Parmitano makes state of a wrench to swage, or splice in, a stainless metallic tube with the fresh coolant pump contrivance for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer out of doorways of the World Space Space on Dec. 2. (NASA TV)