Two NASA astronauts, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir have embarked on the first all-female spacewalk in a historic first.
Koch and Meir floated feet-first out of the International Space Station’s (ISS) Quest airlock on Friday, tasked with replacing a failed power control unit.
The spacewalk, known as an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) in astronaut jargon, took place seven months after the original planned date for an all-female outing, which had to be scrapped because the ISS had only one medium-sized spacesuit on board. The agency sent up a second medium spacesuit in October.
“I think it’s important because of the historical nature of what we’re doing,” Koch said ahead of the spacewalk. “In the past, women haven’t always been at the table. It’s wonderful to be contributing to the space program at a time when all contributions are being accepted when everyone has a role. That can lead in turn to an increased chance for success.”
“Christina, you may egress the airlock,” spacecraft communicator Stephanie Wilson told the pair as they set out to replace a power controller on the International Space Station at 1138 GMT.
They began their mission with standard safety checks on their suits and tethers, before making their way to the repair site on the station’s port side, as the sunlit Earth came into view.
In a call to reporters a few minutes earlier, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine emphasized the symbolic significance of the day. “We want to make sure that space is available to all people, and this is another milestone in that evolution,” he said.
“I have an 11-year-old daughter, I want her to see herself as having all the same opportunities that I found myself as having when I was growing up.”
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *