With Women’s History Month firmly underway, two astronauts are adding a new chapter: the first all-woman spacewalk.
I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!! #WomenInSTEM #WomenInEngineering #WomenInSpace
— Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) March 1, 2019
NASA astronaut Christina Koch will head into space towards the International Space Station (ISS) on March 14 as part of what’s known as Expedition 59. It will be her first spaceflight. Once Koch reaches the ISS, she’ll meet with fellow NASA astronaut Anne McClain, who has been onboard since December. McClain, who is part of Expedition 58, is also on her first voyage into space.
The two will have lots of work to keep them busy. During the time Expedition 59 will spend on the ISS, its crew will perform approximately 250 research investigations and technology demonstrations “not possible on Earth to advance scientific knowledge of Earth, space, physical, and biological sciences,” according to a NASA press release. The two women will be supported on Earth by flight director Mary Lawrence and Kristen Facciol serving on the flight control team.
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
One of the ways we work together on the @Space_Station is during Russian spacewalks. This week, I trained to support the cosmonauts with airlock and spacesuit ops and then assisted a future crew mate to simulate a full spacewalk! pic.twitter.com/rMmzOoIDsu
— Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) February 13, 2019
“As currently scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz tells CNN. “It is the second in a series of three planned spacewalks. Anne also will join Nick Hague for the March 22 spacewalk. And, of course, assignments and schedules could always change.”
“It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall,” Schierholz says. The two will be outside of the ISS, in the void of space, for around 7 hours. The precise nature of the spacewalk has not been revealed yet.
Both McClain and Koch were part of the 2013 class of astronauts, which consisted of four men and four women. Known as the “8 Balls,” because of their eight members, the group has been trained beyond the ISS for an eventual trip to Mars.
Originally posted on Popular Mechanics