NASA Spacewalk Schedule Squeeze May Delay Repairs on $2 Billion Cosmic Ray Detector

With limited crew time available, NASA’s fourth spacewalk to fix an aging dark-matter experiment on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS) may have to wait a while.

The agency has two big challenges as it schedules the last Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) fix among other extravehicular activity (EVA) priorities: a lot of visiting vehicles crowding the schedule in December and a drop in crew numbers to only three people in February ‘ half of the usual six.’

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NASA Spacewalk Schedule Squeeze May Delay Repairs on $2 Billion Cosmic Ray Detector

“We will most likely not attempt an EVA while we’re in the three-crew period,” Space Station Program Manager Kenny Todd said in a livestreamed NASA press conference Tuesday (Dec. 3).

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NASA, therefore, has a narrow window in January to finish off the work before half of the current Expedition 61 crew heads home. And with more-pressing spacewalks to perform, the final AMS repair may have to be put on the back burner for at least a few extra months. NASA needs to replace some batteries for the ISS power system, a more urgent task that requires two spacewalks to accomplish, agency officials have said.

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Spacewalkers replace coolant pumps on $2 billion cosmic ray detector

The work required European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA crewmate Drew Morgan to attach the 350-pound pump module to the 7.5-ton Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, plug in power and data cables and then splice together eight existing coolant lines that were cut during the crew’s second spacewalk.

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Astronauts perform third spacewalk to fix cosmic ray detector

The AMS was not designed to be serviced in orbit and connecting, or ‘swaging,’ the small, relatively fragile coolant lines while working in pressurized spacesuits was considered an especially challenging task, rivaling work to repair some of the Hubble Space Telescope’s most delicate systems.

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Astronauts start spacewalk series to fix cosmic ray detector

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) ‘ Astronauts launched an extraordinarily complicated series of spacewalks Friday to fix a cosmic ray detector at the International Space Station.

Armed with dozens of dissecting tools, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano removed two protective covers to gain access to the inside of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. He handed them to his U.S. spacewalking partner, American Andrew Morgan, for tossing overboard.

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Spacewalking astronauts repairing cosmic ray detector

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) ‘ Spacewalking astronauts ventured out Friday for the second week in a row to repair a cosmic ray detector, this time actually cutting into the $2 billion instrument.

The International Space Station’s Luca Parmitano sliced through eight stainless steel tubes, using hardware store-type bolt cutters. That set the stage to install new coolant pumps during the third spacewalk on Dec. 2.

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NASA Spacewalk Schedule Squeeze May Delay Repairs on $2 Billion Cosmic Ray Detector
Dec 07th, 2019 06:09 UTC With limited crew time available, NASA’s fourth spacewalk to fix an ailing dark-matter experiment may have to wait.

Spacewalkers replace coolant pumps on $2 billion cosmic ray detector
(Dec 2019) After prepping their patient ‘ a $2 billion cosmic ray detector ‘ during . crew’s plans for a fourth and final AMS repair spacewalk. A final excursion is required to make sure the AMS coolant system

Astronauts perform third spacewalk to fix cosmic ray detector
(Dec 2019) Credit: NASA TV/Spaceflight Now After prepping their patient ‘ a $2 billion cosmic ray detector . a fourth and final AMS repair spacewalk. A fourth EVA is required to make sure the AMS coolant

Astronauts start spacewalk series to fix cosmic ray detector
(since Nov, 2019) (NASA via AP) CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) ‘ Astronauts launched an extraordinarily complicated series of spacewalks Friday to fix a cosmic ray detector at the International . to-last space shuttle

Spacewalkers press ahead with space station cosmic ray detector repair
(since Nov, 2019) In a complex bit of orbital surgery, two spacewalking astronauts cut into a $2 billion cosmic ray detector Friday . being hobbled by coolant pump failures, and NASA opted to attempt the spacewalk

Spacewalking astronauts repairing cosmic ray detector
(since Nov, 2019) (NASA via AP) CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) ‘ Spacewalking astronauts ventured out for the second week in a row Friday to repair a cosmic ray detector, this time actually cutting into the $2 billion

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