Thursday, May 19, 2011

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer 2 installed on space station

Endeavour crew talks to media today inside space station. (NASA)

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer 2, an international experiment which will study cosmic rays and dark matter in the universe over the next decade -- was attached to it new home outside the International Space Station today.

The 15,251 pound spectrometer was latched down at 5:33 a.m. EDT, this morning and the job of electrical and data connections then followed. The spectrometer was fully connected at 5:46 a.m.

The spectrometer is a particle physics experiment designed to study the origin of the universe as scientists scan the invisible cosmic rays as they use 300,000 data channels to flow information obtained to some 600 computers.

"Using a large magnet to create a magnetic field that will bend the path of the charged cosmic particles already traveling through space, eight different instruments will provide information on those particles as they make their way through the magnet," NASA's Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center stated this morning.

Earlier in the day, Endeavour astronauts Roberto Vittori and Drew Feustel moved the shuttle's arm to slowly to lift AMS out of the aft section of the space craft's payload bay.

They then plucked the $2 Billion platform from the shuttle's bay and slowly swung AMS over to the awaiting space station's robotic arm where it was then grappled by shuttle astronauts Greg Johnson and Greg Chamitoff.

Johnson and Chamitoff, working from a control station inside the Cupola node's 360-degree field of space view, guided the huge round magnetic experiment over to the right side of the space station's backbone, known as the truss.

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