First all-female crew to conduct a spacewalk

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.

 

“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.

 

Moreover, the crew will be supported on the ground by Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol. Facciol will be on the console at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

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.