NASA Announces the First All-Female Spacewalk During Women’s History Month

08 March, 2019, 17:10 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Although not intentional this news does show the growth in the number of female astronauts on the ISS in recent years.
¦ Pixabay

McClain is also set to conduct a spacewalk a week earlier with fellow NASA astronaut Nick Hague.

The US space agency Nasa said astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain will walk outside the International Space Station on 29 March on a mission to replace batteries installed last summer. This will be a true reality and a big achievement in the history of NASA to have a complete unmanned team to undertake their project. Koch, who has a background in electrical engineering and physics, will launch into space on March 14 and join McClain at the ISS. NASA says spacewalks are conducted for repairs, testing equipment and conducting experiments.

She helped pave the way for femmes like Judith Resnik and Christa McAuliffe (who died in the 1986 Challenger explosion), as well as Kathryn Sullivan (the first American woman to walk in space) and a growing number of female explorers around the world.

It's a routine outing, and the first of three planned for this particular series, but this one is special for reasons beyond the mission itself - it's the first ever all-female spacewalk.

"As now scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women", NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told CNN.

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A spacewalk, also known as "extravehicular activity" (EVA), is a broad term that applies to any time an astronaut exits a vehicle while in space.

Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space in 1963 - just two years after the first man. They'll be guided from the ground by flight director Mary Lawrence, and flight controllers Jackie Kagey and Kristen Facciol, according to CNN.

During spacewalks, astronauts spend an extended period of time on the exterior of the International Space Station.

Both were members of NASA's 2013 class of astronauts, where four of the eight members were female, and traveled to the ISS over the past year as part of expedition 58 and 59, respectively.

Koch and McClain's seven-hour spacewalk will be broadcast on NASA TV later this month. Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, who was the second female astronaut, became the first woman to walk in space in 1984 while testing a fix method.

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