Astronauts Make History on NASA’s First All-Women Spacewalk
Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are the history-making duo behind NASA’s first-ever all-women spacewalk.
Jessica Meir and Christina Koch made history Friday as the first astronauts to conduct an all-women spacewalk.
They were tasked with replacing a faulty battery charge and discharge unit outside of the International Space Station. The spacewalk lasted more than seven hours.
The station is powered by solar arrays and four sets of batteries, and the unit regulates the charge in the batteries from the solar arrays — the faulty one reportedly hasn’t been a threat to the station, but is keeping newly installed batteries from increasing in power.
Both women were a part of NASA’s 2013 class of trainees, which was the first class to have an equal number of men and women. Koch arrived on station on March 14 for her first space mission and will remain until February 2020. Meir arrived at the beginning of October and will spend more than six months aboard.
“I think it’s important because of the historical nature of what we’re doing and that in the past, women haven’t always been at the table,” Koch said at a NASA press conference. “It’s wonderful to be contributing to human spaceflight at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role and that can lead, in turn, to increased chance for success.”
"What we're doing now shows all the work that went in for the decades prior, all of the women that worked to get us where we are today," Meir said. "I think the nice thing for us is we don't even really think about it on a daily basis, it's just normal. We're part of the team, we're doing this work as an efficient team working together with everybody else, so it's really nice to see how far that we've come."
The walk was initially scheduled for March 2019 but was postponed because NASA didn’t have the right-sized spacesuits for the two women.