Six months after a suit-sizing issue led to cancellation, astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are set to make history on the first all-female spacewalk scheduled for the end of the month.
Back in March, Koch and Anne McClain, two NASA astronauts with Expedition 59, would both need to wear a medium-size torso component for their first all-female spacewalk, but only one was readily available at the International Space Station.
That shouldn’t be a problem anymore. NASA sent up another medium-size spacesuit, according to NASA’s news conference Friday, when they announced that the International Space Station’s two women will pair up for a spacewalk scheduled for October 21, to upgrade the power systems on the the space station by installing new lithium-ion batteries.
NASA Astronaut Office Deputy Chief Megan McArthur talks about 10 spacewalks coming up for the International Space Station crew.
Koch, an electrical engineer, is more than 200 days into an approximately 300-day mission, which will set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Meir, a marine biologist arrived at the space station for her first mission last week. In addition to her first spacewalk with Koch, she will also conduct a spacewalk with European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano.
Koch said it’s important to recognize women’s achievements and representation in space.
Meir said, “It’s really nice to see how far that we’ve come.”
.@Astro_Christina and @Astro_Jessica are scheduled for a spacewalk together on Oct. 21. They recently talked about how their accomplishments are viewed in terms of being female astronauts. pic.twitter.com/yTJ0kVH40f
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) October 4, 2019
Meir shared an image of her hugging Koch after arriving on the station.
“This is how it feels when in addition to your childhood dream being fulfilled by arriving to @Space_Station, you’re greeted by your Astro-brothers and sisters on the other side of the hatch,” Meir said in her tweet.
This is how it feels when in addition to your childhood dream being fulfilled by arriving to @Space_Station, you’re greeted by your Astro-brothers and sisters on the other side of the hatch. pic.twitter.com/mexDxMdWhd
— Jessica Meir (@Astro_Jessica) September 29, 2019
Meir and Koch have trained together for the last six years because they’re members of the same astronaut class. Meir will spend more than six months on board the station.
The upcoming spacewalks will help replace solar array batteries and upgrade them to lithium-ion batteries, as well as refurbish the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a scientific instrument “that explores the fundamental nature of the universe,” according to NASA.