Space

First all-female spacewalk completed

First all-female spacewalk com...
NASA spacewalkers Christina Koch (foreground, suit with red stripe) and Jessica Meir (suit with no stripes) replaced a failed battery charge-discharge unit with a new one during a 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk
NASA spacewalkers Christina Koch (foreground, suit with red stripe) and Jessica Meir (suit with no stripes) replaced a failed battery charge-discharge unit with a new one during a 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk
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NASA spacewalkers Christina Koch (foreground, suit with red stripe) and Jessica Meir (suit with no stripes) replaced a failed battery charge-discharge unit with a new one during a 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk
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NASA spacewalkers Christina Koch (foreground, suit with red stripe) and Jessica Meir (suit with no stripes) replaced a failed battery charge-discharge unit with a new one during a 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk

The first all-female spacewalk in history has taken place outside the International Space Station. On October 18 at 2:55 pm EDT, NASA Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir completed a 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk during which they replaced a failed battery-charging component on the Space Station.

Meir's first spacewalk and Koch's fourth, it was assisted from inside the station by ESA astronaut Commander Luca Parmitano, who operated the Canadarm2 robotic arm, and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan, who helped with the airlock and spacesuits. Its purpose was to replace a faulty Battery Charge-Discharge Unit (BCDU), which collects and distributes electricity from the solar panels to the station's systems.

Mission Control reported that the new BCDU is operating properly and that Koch and Meir were also able to install a new stanchion on the Columbus module in anticipation of an ESA payload that will be installed next year.

Spacewalks by female astronauts aren't new. The first was in July 1984 by Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya during her second visit to the Salyut 7 space station. In October of that same year, NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan became the first American female spacewalker from the Space Shuttle Challenger during the STS-41-G mission.

NASA says 15 women have participated in 43 spacewalks. Koch herself has clocked up 27 hours and 48 minutes and she is scheduled to remain on the ISS for a total of 11 months to provide scientists with data of the long-term effects of spaceflight on a woman.

Source: NASA

2 comments
martinwinlow
When will commentators realise that by making the 'first female to do (whatever)' a newsworthy story perpetuates the sexist notion that men are better than women? The same (debatable) argument applies to race and the constant celebrating of specifically black people's achievements and/or the promotion of black-only associations and organisations aimed (with all-good intentions, I'm sure) at promoting black 'advancement'. I understand the urge but it simply isn't logical - not if true integration of the sexes and all races is the ultimate aim. It simply re-inforces in readers' minds the false idea that black people are generally inferior to white and that females are generally inferior to males. Maybe it's just me.
Kevin Roach
I get the significance of the event, another milestone in the US space program. But the hoopla is all about the sexist side of the story, continuing to keep alive an outdated notion women are incapable of doing whatever. Sick of this whole politically correct bs keeping alive things that would have been gone years ago, if they would just let it go and stop using it as a tool to advance a political career. Just stop, take people for who they are, and how they behave, nothing more matters. (steps down from soapbox)