First all-female spacewalk completed
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.
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