NASA Announces First All-Female Spacewalk

Christopher Davidson
March 9, 2019

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, are set to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft at 3:14 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. March 15 Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a six-hour journey to the station.

On March 29th, a crew of astronauts will conduct the first-ever all-female spacewalk aboard the International Space Station. NASA hasn't disclosed the specific goal of the seven-hour outing, which it plans to broadcast, but it'll likely involve repairs or scientific experiments.

However, she added that assignments and schedules are subject to change. The Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol will support them on the ground as she will be on the console at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

There have been 213 spacewalks at the ISS since 1998 for the purposes of maintenance, repairs, testing of new equipment or science experiments, according to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Mary Lawrence will be the Lead Flight Director while Jackie Kagey will take charge of the spacewalk flight controller. The teams that spacewalked were always all-male or male-female. Both McClain and Koch are proud to have been selected, and McClain, in particular, has been very vocal on social media throughout March so far.

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The spacewalk isn't the first tie that binds the two women. Both women are members of NASA's 2013 astronaut class, which was comprised of 50 percent women.

McClain, who will also do a spacewalk on March 22, also shed light on the Crew Dragon's recent achievement. But women are finally pulling ahead in the space race.

"It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall", a NASA spokesperson said. Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, who was the second female astronaut, became the first woman to walk in space in 1984 while testing a fix method. "I don't think we can shut ourselves off to exploring different avenues".

Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to carry out a spacewalk on 25 July 1984.

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