Spacewalkers free up station’s stuck rail car

Image: Spacewalker
NASA astronaut Tim Kopra conducts a spacewalk at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA TV)

Two NASA spacewalkers executed a quick fix at the International Space Station today, moving a stuck rail car to clear the path for a robotic Russian cargo ship that was launched just hours before.

The 3-hour, 16-minute spacewalk was put on the schedule just last week, when mission controllers discovered that the robotic rail car on the station’s main truss was jammed on the track, 4 inches (10 centimeters) out of position.

Astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra had to release the brake handles on the crew equipment carts on each side of the rail car to move it to its storage spot. NASA wanted the car locked down properly as a precaution in advance of Wednesday’s scheduled arrival of a Russian Progress cargo craft.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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