NASA is sending a pair of astronauts on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station today (Jan. 25) to finish fixing a complicated science experiment. Here’s how to watch it live.
NASA TV began streaming the spacewalk around 5:30 a.m. EST (1030 GMT) as European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan complete their final spacewalk preparations. You can watch it live here on Space.com. The spacewalk is expected to start around 6:50 a.m. EST (1150 GMT), when the astronauts will switch their spacesuits over to battery power before heading out of the airlock.
The astronauts will focus on installing a new cooling apparatus and lines on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), an aging experiment on the International Space Station that searches for cosmic rays, as well as dark matter and dark energy (mysterious phenomena thought to make up most of the universe), among other phenomena. This is the fourth spacewalk for Morgan and Parmitano on the AMS, following up on work in November and December.
The AMS was not originally designed for in-space servicing, but its work is of such value to the scientific community that NASA drew up new procedures and new tools to tackle the repair and upgrade work. The agency has said that this is the most complex set of spacewalks undertaken since the last mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, in 2009.
The duo’s last AMS spacewalk was on Dec. 2, when the astronauts put a new coolant pump outside the space station. That pump will help to keep the AMS at the proper temperature needed for its detectors to function. Guiding the spacewalk from the ground will be Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen, who led the team creating the AMS repair procedures and simulating the associated work in NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, a large pool meant to simulate the feeling of spacewalking.