Two astronauts complete 3rd spacewalk to repair cosmic particle detector

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Two astronauts conducted on Monday the third complex spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS) to repair a cosmic particle detector in searching for dark matter and antimatter, completing the tough part of the mission.

European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and U.S. space agency NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan wrapped up their spacewalk at 12:33 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time (1733 GMT), installing a new cooling system to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).

The 7.5-ton device, launched to the space in 2001, was developed by a 600-member multinational team. It features a thermal control system developed by Chinese scientists.

The six-hour-and-two-minute spacewalk started as the astronaut duo switched their spacesuits to battery power at 6:31 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time. Parmitano carried a 159-kilogram box of pumps as he headed toward the spectrometer, according to NASA live broadcast.

Then, the astronauts cooperated to install the cooling system called upgraded tracker thermal pump system, completed the power and data cable connection for the system, and connected all eight cooling lines from the AMS to the new system.

The most challenging connection work required making a clean cut for each existing stainless steel tube connected to the AMS before connecting it to the new system through a process of metalworking known as swaging, according to NASA.

The astronauts also did some go-ahead task by installing an insulating blanket on the nadir side of the spectrometer to replace the heat shield and blanket they removed during the first spacewalk. They completed the whole task quicker than planned seven-and-a-half hours.

The flight control team on Earth initiated power-up of the system and confirmed it is receiving power and data, according to NASA.

The two astronauts will conduct leak checks on their fourth and final repair work. Enditem

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