Science & Environment

Tim Peake assists with spacewalk

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Media captionWatch timelapse highlights as Tim Peake helps his crewmates carry out a spacewalk

UK astronaut Tim Peake helped two fellow crew members to conduct a spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.

Astronauts Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly, from the US space agency Nasa, went outside the ISS to fix a broken component.

As they suited up and prepared to go out into space, they received assistance from Tim Peake and Sergey Volkov.

Mr Peake arrived at the ISS on Tuesday.

He is the first UK astronaut to be selected by the European Space Agency and will spend six months aboard the space station.

Dressing duties

The spacewalk started at around 12:45 GMT - slightly ahead of schedule - and lasted about three hours, as planned.

Image copyright NASA
Image caption Tim Peake and Sergey Volkov helped the other two astronauts into the airlock
Image copyright NASA
Image caption Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly left the airlock (on the right of the photo) at about 12:45 GMT

"It will be a very busy and interesting day for Tim," said Libby Jackson from the UK Space Agency.

The spacewalk was the seventh time ISS crew members have ventured outside in 2015.

It took place so the astronauts could fix a stalled component called the "mobile transporter" - a rail car that moves a robotic arm up and down the length of the space station.

The mobile transporter became stuck on Wednesday.

"The cause of the stall is being evaluated, but experts believe it may be related to a stuck brake handle," said the mission's operations manager, Kenny Todd.

Space station managers wanted to ensure the component was latched down ahead of the arrival of a cargo supply ship at the ISS on Wednesday.

Image copyright @astro_timpeake
Image caption Room with a view: Tim Peake posted this picture to Twitter

Mr Peake's duties included getting the crew suited and out of the airlock while talking to mission control.

The spacewalk was the third in Mr Kelly's career and the second for Mr Kopra.

Meanwhile, Mr Peake, who is spending his first weekend in space, has thanked the thousands of people around the world who sent him good luck messages.

On his blog, he wrote: "The support for our launch was outstanding, and I want to thank each of you for the #GoodLuckTim messages.

"From the schoolchildren who watched the launch in class, people watching on the underground, and viewers outside of UK, your messages have shown how much interest there is in space and they mean a great deal to me.

"We are very busy up here but I promise to start sharing more of our life in space soon."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Tim Peake spoke to journalists via video link on Friday

On Friday, during a live link-up from the space platform, he said his first few days in space had been "absolutely spectacular".

Answering questions from reporters gathered at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, he said the first two hours had been "pretty rough" and he had been feeling "disorientated and dizzy".

But he was able to show them a backwards somersault and said he was surprised how quickly his body had adapted to weightlessness.

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