The First All-Female Spacewalk Is Finally Set To Happen
Earlier this year, it was announced that the first all-female spacewalk would take place on 29 March, 35 years after the first time a woman took part in one. But hours before it was set to happen the landmark team line-up on the trip changed, due to a lack of spacesuits to fit the female astronauts. Seven months later, the milestone will be reached at last, after the organisation announced that two female astronauts – Christina Koch and Jessica Meir – will embark on the history-making space journey this week.
Due to happen on 17 or 18 October – the news was communicated by the NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine on Twitter – the spacewalk (the term describes any instance of an astronaut gets out of their vehicle while in space) will involve a mission to replace a battery outside the International Space Station. It’s estimated the full walk will take around six and a half hours. NASA has blasted a second medium-sized spacesuit to the station, so that the walk can actually happen this time around.
To date 15 women have been on a spacewalk, always accompanied by men. The first woman to complete a spacewalk was cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1984. Up until now, spacewalk teams have either been all-male or male-female. In nearly 60 years of spaceflight, 213 spacewalks have been carried out to test new equipment, or carry out repairs or science experiments.