International Space Station Astronauts Float Outside To Fix Jammed Rail Car

Timothy Kopra and Scott Kelly, the two astronauts from the International Space Station began their spacewalk to fix the jammed rail car that is stuck outside the orbiting lab. Scot Kelly from NASA has been at the Station from past one year, and the two astronauts came out of the hatch of the space station so that they could free the stuck rail car by releasing its brakes. The car is not in its usual spot and hence Mike Hopkins, another astronaut at the Mission Control warned Kelly and Kopra from accidentally contacting the MT.

The three-hour spacewalk is the seventh walk by astronauts this year and the 191st spacewalk since the formation of the space station in 1998 according to the space agency, NASA.

Unplanned Spacewalk

The unplanned spacewalk approximately 250 miles above the Earth is being undertaken so that the rail car is moved to its usual spot and a cargo ship that supplies three tons of supplies including food can enter the station. According to engineers, a stuck brake handle can be the possible reason for the jamming of the rail car and the astronauts on the mission are required to move it about four inches to bring it back to its place.

The rail car is a part of the regular mobile transport system used to transport equipment, people and big robot arm of the station in space and outside the orbiting lab. The brake jammed unexpectedly last week and the need for the spacewalk arose when the Mission Control in Houston failed to fix the problem using robotic techniques. Since the arrival of the Russian Progress supply ship with the supplies is much awaited at the station, it is highly important that the jammed rail car be latched in its usual place to avoid interference in the ship’s arrival.

The supply ship will be loaded with 5,753 pounds supplies, propellants and equipment and will dock at the Russian Pirs module of the space station.

The term of Kelly at the station will be completed by the end of March while Kopra from Kazakhstan has just arrived along with British and Russian colleagues.