Monday morning, astronauts had to make an unscheduled spacewalk to fix a broken component on the outside of the International Space Station known as a ‘mobile transporter.’ It’s the rail on the outside of the International Space Station that allows the transport rail car and robotic arm to move around the outside of the International Space Station as needed.
In what appeared to be a stuck brake handle, astronauts were successfully able to dislodge the stuck brake and get the cart moving again, which is all in great timing because the International Space Station is due for a supply rocket on Wednesday and the robotic arm would be needed for the docking process.
The two astronauts who carried out the spacewalk were NASA’s Scott Kelly and Timothy Kopra; it was Kelly’s third spacewalk and Kopra’s second spacewalk during the length of their astronaut careers. ESA astronaut Tim Peake was inside of the International Space Station helping Kelly and Kopra get suited up, and then helping with their air locking process.
Considering it was an unplanned spacewalk that had to be planned without a whole lot of notice just over the weekend, space agencies are calling it quite the successful mission.
“Good news! It appears to have reached the work site," said United States astronaut Mike Hopkins from Mission Control here on Earth. "It's in a good config. Well done!"
The astronauts, after having completed unjamming the rail car system, have moved on to routine maintenance outside the International Space Station, which includes routing more cables as Scott Kelly began doing on his previous spacewalk.
With the system now completed, the rocket carrying the new supplies for the International Space Station can safely dock and unload. The rocket was launched just four hours prior to the spacewalk this morning.
Source: ABC News