Two astronauts conducted on Monday the third complex spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS) to fix a cosmic particle detector in searching for dark matter and antimatter, completing the tough part of the mission.
European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano on Monday completed his third spacewalk with NASA colleague Andrew Morgan to service the AMS-102 antimatter seeker on the International Space Station, which Parmitano is now commanding.
It was the third spacewalk in almost three weeks for Italy's Luca Parmitano and NASA's Andrew Morgan.
The $2 billion spectrometer has been up there hunting for antimatter and dark matter for 8 ½ years, longer than anticipated.
The $2 billion spectrometer was never meant for hands-on repairs like this and was created to last just three years. During the pair's fourth spacewalk, they'll check their work for leaks. It's still five to ten years. Parmitano carried a 159-kilogram box of pumps as he headed toward the spectrometer, according to NASA live broadcast.
Lead engineer Zhan Zhang will operate in tandem with all the astronauts to power off the system and then on again after it's installed by Parmitano. The instrument came alive.
Mission Control cautioned, "We've got a little way to go yet, but we agree".
"AstroLuca" installed the new cables and connected the new pump to the tubes of the old device. "There are only seven minutes left", Mission Control told Radio that Parmitano was finally connecting the first cooling line. With two supply ships ready for launch this week to the space station - Cape Canaveral and Kazakhstan - the date of the last spacewalk is uncertain. It's since studied more than 148 billion charged cosmic rays.