From European Space Agency: “Cargo load”

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From European Space Agency


The Cygnus NG-12 cargo vehicle hangs out after arriving to the International Space Station on 4 November.

The latest resupply mission includes over 4 tonnes of science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware. It also crucially includes components essential for the series of spacewalks taking place this month.

In a few weeks ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Drew Morgan will venture out to perform a series of spacewalks four years in the making. The extravehicular activities, or EVAs, will service and enhance the dark matter-hunting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02.

CERN Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

The space-based Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the ISS

The dark-matter hunter was launched in 2011 and records over 17 billion cosmic rays, particles and nuclei a year. Results from the particle physics detector are among the top five most-cited publications from International Space Station research.

The instrument was initially meant to run for only three years but has been so successful that its mission has been extended. However, three of the four cooling pumps have stopped functioning and will require multiple spacewalks to repair.

Luca will take a leading role in the spacewalks with the first intended to determine just how and where to intervene, and what tools will be needed for the process.

Listen to the ESA Explores podcast on spacewalks to learn how astronauts prepare to venture into the cold dark of space.

In the meantime, the crew are unloading the supplies, which also include fresh food and hardware for the rover-driving Analog-1 experiment, parts for ESA’s next-generation life support system as well as a software upgrade for boiling experiment Rubi and parts for the commercial external platform Bartolomeo that will be installed outside Europe’s space lab Columbus.

See the full article here .

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The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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