NASA to Once Again Attempt First All-Female Spacewalk

Solar panels on the International Space Station with two astronauts in white boxy suits clinging to the side of the structure while earth sits in the background

The pioneering ladies' upcoming spacewalk is part of an ongoing project to upgrade ISS batteries. NASA says that ISS crew members have conducted 219 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the station.

NASA's first all-female spacewalk includes a MI native. The spacewalk lasted 7 hours and one minute.

According to NASA, veteran spacewalkers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan exited the station's Quest airlock in their US spacesuits on Sunday, 5 PM IST for a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk during which, they installed new lithium-ion batteries on Port-6 truss structure which is an attachment point of the solar arrays.

Koch was supposed to do a spacewalk with Spokane-native Astrounat Anne Mcclain back in March, but it was canceled because Mcclain needed a medium spacesuit, but there weren't enough on board at the time. "And it's wonderful to be contributing to the human spaceflight program at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role, and that in turn can lead to an increased chance for success".

In this photo made available by NASA astronaut Jessica Meir on September 29, 2019, Christina H. Koch, left, and Meir greet each other after Meir's arrival on the International Space Station. The new lithium-ion batteries have much better energy density so that each new battery is equivalent to two of the versions being replaced.

Throughout NASA's history, more than 500 people have ventured out into space yet only 11 percent have been women.

"I'm sure that they'll sit back and reflect on it, we'll all celebrate that", McArthur said.

Koch, who arrived on the space station in March, is on her way to set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, surpassing Peggy Whitson, who in April became the American with the most overall space time.

Koch is scheduled to remain in orbit until February. The batteries being replaced are ten years old; the new copies should last until the end of the ISS mission.

Koch and Meir were asked in an interview from space on Friday about whether they mind having their accomplishments qualified by their gender, i.e. the first all-female spacewalk and longest spaceflight by a woman.

Meir said she does not think a lot about being one of two women on the space station. "We're part of the team".

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