NASA astronauts and ISS Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir have completed the first-ever all-female spacewalk in the history of space exploration. The spacewalk was broadcast live on NASA TV (see the video below).

NASA conducts 1st all-female spacewalk.
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir ventured outside the space station at 7:38 a.m. EDT on Friday, October 18. They concluded the spacewalk at 2:55 p.m. EDT. Courtesy of NASA TV.
Koch is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes. Meir is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes. Koch’s helmet camera is carrying the number 18, and Meir’s helmet camera is carrying the number 11.

Related: Top 20 longest spacewalks in history

During the 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk (or extravehicular activity – EVA), which was the eighth spacewalk outside the International Space Station in 2019, the two NASA astronauts completed the replacement of a failed power charging component, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU).

The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. Mission control activated the newly installed BCDU and reported it is operating properly.

The astronauts were also able to accomplish some get-ahead tasks including installation of a stanchion on the Columbus module for support of a new external ESA (European Space Agency) payload platform called Bartolomeo scheduled for launch to the station in 2020.

The first-ever all-female spacewalk

First-ever all-female 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. Credit: NASA TV

This first-ever all-female spacewalk in the history of space exploration was This is the fourth spacewalk was Christina Koch’s fourth and Jessica Meir’s first.

Before the spacewalk, Meir said at a news conference that: What we’re doing now shows all the work that went in for the decades prior, all of the women that worked to get us where we are today. I think the nice thing for us is we don’t even really think about it on a daily basis, it’s just normal. We’re part of the team, we’re doing this work as an efficient team working together with everybody else, so it’s really nice to see how far that we’ve come.”

The first woman to walk in space: Svetlana Savitskaya

Previously, 14 women and 213 men have performed spacewalks.

Meir became the 15th woman to spacewalk, and the 14th U.S. woman. It was the 43rd spacewalk to include a woman.

On July 25, 1984, Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space.

First woman to walk in space - Svetlana Savitskaya
On July 25, 1984, Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space. Launched on 19 April 1982, Salyut 7 (English: Salute 7) was a space station in low Earth orbit from April 1982 to February 1991. It was aloft for eight years and ten months (a record not broken until Mir), during which time it was visited by 10 crews constituting six main expeditions and four secondary flights (including French and Indian cosmonauts). On July 25, 1984, cosmonauts Svetlana Savitskaya and Vladimir Dzhanibekov tested one of the most important repair methods ever, welding and brazing metal samples in the vacuum of space. The experiment worked, the system was proven and Savitskaya, in the process, became the first woman to walk in space. She was also the second woman in space since 1963, when Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova launched on the Vostok 6 mission on June 16, 1963.

Sources

“NASA Astronauts Wrap Up Historic All-Woman Spacewalk” on NASA.gov
“NASA TV is Live Now Broadcasting First All-Woman Spacewalk” on NASA.gov
“Nasa astronauts complete first-ever all-female spacewalk” on The Guardian
“NASA Deputy Administrator Watches All-Woman Spacewalk” on NASA.gov
“Female Duo Ventures Outside Station for Historic Spacewalk” on NASA.gov

M. Özgür Nevres

I am a software developer, a former road racing cyclist, and a science enthusiast. Also an animal lover! I write about the planet Earth and science on this website, ourplnt.com. You can check out my social media profiles by clicking on their icons.

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