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Astronaut Tim Peake's parents miss space call

By John von Radowitz

Published 22/12/2015

British astronaut Tim Peake has helped two of his fellow crewmen carry out a spacewalk - but failed in an attempt to phone his parents from the International Space Station (ISS).

He tried making the call but missed his mother and father because they were out.

Nigel and Angela Peake arrived home to find a voicemail left by their son.

They also revealed that a cardboard cut-out of Major Peake - dubbed "Flat Tim" - will take his place at the Christmas table later this week.

The primary purpose of the spacewalk by American Nasa astronauts Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly was to free a jammed robotic trolley.

The Mobile Transporter, which carries a robot arm along a rail attached to the truss, the station's central "backbone", became stuck on Wednesday.

During the EVA (extra-vehicular activity), Major Peake was responsible for getting his fellow astronauts in and out of their space suits and safely through the airlock.

He also monitored the spacewalk from inside the ISS and kept in touch with mission control.

Describing the missed call from space, Nigel Peake, from Westbourne, near Chichester, said: "It was quite surreal. We'd popped out for about an hour to see our daughter who lives nearby, came home to an answerphone message, 'Hello, this is your son from the International Space Station'. We're out when he calls! That message is going to stay there in perpetuity, I can assure you."

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