Christina Koch and Jessica Meir went to perform a repair outside the International Space Station.
This is the first time in six decades of space history that two women have conducted a spacewalk. American astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir went out this Friday together from the International Space Station (ISS) for a repair.
The first spacewalk of two female astronauts, Christina Koch and Anne McClain, had been scheduled in March, but NASA had to cancel it four days earlier because it did not have two suits of the right size ready for use.
Friday’s outing officially started at 11:38 am and is expected to last several hours, with the aim of changing a battery charging unit that failed last weekend. “Christina, you can get out of the airlock,” announced astronaut Stephanie Wilson from the ground control center in Houston.
14 women in spacewalk since 1998
Then Christina Koch slowly floated out. “HAP is dry,” she confirmed after checking that the inside of her helmet was free of water leaks. “I’m moving forward…”, said Jessica Meir, who arrived onboard the ISS last month, before going out in turn.
NASA had planned everything this time and the two women went out in their cumbersome suits as planned, 400 km above the Earth, orbiting at a speed of 8 kilometers per second.
Since the ISS began in 1998, 220 spacewalks had been performed by astronauts of all nationalities, mostly Americans. But only 13 Americans, including Christina Koch, and one Russian had so far “market” in the void. Jessica Meir became the fifteenth.
Space has long been reserved for men. In NASA, all the first astronauts were military pilots, men. The first woman in space was the Russian Valentina Tereshkova in 1963. For American women, the first to fly was Sally Ride in 1983.