Two female NASA astronauts will do a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on 29 March
Who would have thought, some 100 years ago, that women would make it to space one day? And now, for the first time in all of mankind’s history as we know it, these two female astronauts are setting the limits higher yet again.
As part of Expedition 59, the NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will conduct the second in a series of three planned spacewalks.
Train like you fly. Last week was learning to fly the spacewalk suit, which is more like a person-shaped spacecraft. Taking real space hardware to vacuum in a chamber and running emergency responses was invaluable preparation. Being lead by a rockstar team made it even better. pic.twitter.com/DMzlefQDpC
— Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) December 18, 2018
“As currently scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” said NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz.
“These spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall,” Schierholz said. “In addition to the two female spacewalkers, the Lead Flight Director is Mary Lawrence, and Jackie Kagey (also a woman), is the lead EVA (spacewalk) flight controller.
“Anne also will join Nick Hague for the March 22 spacewalk,” added Schierholz.
Earth will learn a lot during his busy week on @Space_Station – today he kept me company while we checked our suit sizing to account for space growth (I am 2 inches taller than when I launched!), then we did some translation adaptation. pic.twitter.com/A89tJauyQu
— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 4, 2019
As per NASA’s website, the planned spacewalk will take seven hours.
Both McClain and Koch came out of the 2013 class of astronauts, half of which were women. According to NASA’s numbers, the most recent class of flight directors consists of 50 per cent women.
All previous spacewalks either involved both men and women or consisted solely of men
However, McClain and Koch are not the first women to perform spacewalking. In 1984, Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to participate in a spacewalk. Two years before that, in 1982, Savitskaya became the second woman in space.
To this day, less than 11 per cent of the 500 people who ever made it to space were women. All previous spacewalks either involved both men and women or consisted solely of men.
Astronauts perform spacewalks for a number of reasons. Most commonly they include work on the outside of the aircraft, science experiments, testing new equipment, or satellite fixes.