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ISS astronauts fix stalled rail car during short spacewalk

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 — A pair of US astronauts successfully latched a stalled rail car in space outside the International Space Station during a hastily planned spacewalk that lasted about three hours, US space agency NASA said Monday.

Astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra released brake handles on crew equipment carts on either side of the rail car to allow it to be moved back into place as a cautionary measure in advance of Wednesday's docking of a Russian cargo resupply spacecraft, NASA said.

The rail car, used to position the space station's robotic arm for various tasks, was struck just four inches (10 centimeters) away from where it started when ground controllers were trying to move it from one worksite to another last week.

After quickly completing their primary objective for the spacewalk, Kelly and Kopra tackled several get-ahead tasks, NASA said.

Kelly routed a second pair of cables in preparation for International Docking Adapter installment work to support US commercial crew vehicles, continuing work he began during a November spacewalk, while Kopra routed an Ethernet cable that ultimately will connect to a Russian laboratory module.

They also retrieved tools that had been in a toolbox on the outside of the station, so they can be used for future work.

The spacewalk began at 7:45 a.m. EST (1245 GMT) and ended at 11:01 a.m. EST (1601 GMT). It was the third for Kelly, who is nine months into a yearlong mission and the second for Kopra, who arrived at the station on Dec. 15 for his second space mission. (PNA/Xinhua)

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