On 18th October, American astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir left the International Space Station (ISS) together to perform a maintenance operation. Their successful operation constituted the first ever all-female spacewalk.
It was the first all-female spacewalk in history. On Friday 18th October, American astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir spent almost seven hours outside the International Space Station (ISS) as they replaced an electrical component. The operation involved changing a power charging system that had been installed in 2000 at one end of the station, near some huge solar panels, and which had stopped working the previous weekend.
A first in the history of space exploration
None of the previous 220 spacewalks carried out since the ISS began in 1998 had involved two women at the same time. “It was a great honour, a symbol for those who dare to dream and work hard to make their dream come true,” said 42-year-old marine biologist Jessica Meir
ICYMI: Last week, first-time NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir completed a 7 hour and 17 minute spacewalk to replace a power charging component. Check out some amazing images as Koch and Meir worked outside the ISS orbiting 250 miles over Earth!— ISS National Lab (@ISS_CASIS) October 22, 2019
Image credit: NASA pic.twitter.com/lHxOHJa1cv
A first all-female walk had been scheduled last March, but NASA had to cancel it because of a lack of suitable space suits.
Donald Trump congratulated the astronauts
President Donald Trump telephoned the two astronauts to congratulate them as the two women floated at zero gravity, 415 kilometres above the Indian Ocean, at the usual speed of eight kilometres per second. “You are very brave, brilliant women,” the American President told them from the White House.
“We don't want to take too much credit because there have been many other female spacewalkers before us,” replied Jessica Meir. “There's been a long line of female scientists, explorers, engineers and astronauts. We have followed in their footsteps, to get to where we are today.” The first woman in space was Russia’s Valentina Terechkova in 1963. Since then, attitudes have gradually changed: the latest class of NASA astronauts, who were selected in 2013, was the first to be 50% women and 50% men.
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