A stuck rail car at the International Space Stations has forced two astronauts out into the open space for a hastily organised spacewalk on Monday.
The car, a mobile base of the station’s robotic arm, got stuck some 10cm away from its intended latching point last Wednesday, blocked by a crew equipment cart that was left with its brake on.
Two American astronauts, the current station commander Scott Kelly newly arrived Tim Kopra ventured out for a three-and-a-half-hour spacewalk to remove the car to make space for a Russian spaceship bringing supplies on Wednesday.
Kelly and Kopra placed the stuck rail car into its correct parking position along the space station's exterior truss in 15 minutes and used the remaining time to carry out some work needed for the upcoming reconfiguration of the station.
Russia, one of 15 nations that own and operate the station, plans to launch a new research laboratory, while the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration is preparing to install docking ports for new commercial space taxis that are slated to begin flying in 2017.
Nasa usually spends months planning spacewalks, but the one that began shortly before 8am EST was only arranged over the weekend.
Kopra arrived at the station six days ago with Britain's first professional astronaut, Timothy Peake, and Russia's Yuri Malenchenko.