Today is International Women’s Day, which we enjoy spending with women who have made our lives great, complimenting them with flowers or other gifts. However, this day should also be about women empowerment, and NASA found a perfect way to empower its female astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, who will participate in the first all-women spacewalk.
NASA’s two female astronauts will make history later this month on March 29. The astronauts will perform their spacewalk outside the International Space Station. This news is particularly important to women in space disciplines, as there are significantly less women in space than men.
The first woman who went to space and participated in a spacewalk was a Soviet cosmonaut, Svetlana Savitskaya. Now, we’re ready to take the next space by organizing an all-women spacewalk later this month. The news was reported by CNN, after being confirmed by NASA.
When we say the first spacewalk in which only women will participate, we literally mean it, as Kristen Faccio from the Canadian Space Agency will prepare the ground support at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. She published a couple of tweets describing her excitement about the first all-women spacewalk.
I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!! #WomenInSTEM #WomenInEngineering #WomenInSpace
— Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) March 1, 2019
Out of over 500 people who have been to space, only 11% were women, while teams performing spacewalks mostly consisted of men, or teams that involved both genders, according to the report in the Guardian.
“It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall,” NASA told CNN. “In addition to the two female spacewalkers, the Lead Flight Director is Mary Lawrence, and Jackie Kagey (also a woman), is the lead EVA (spacewalk) flight controller.”
Just like other spacewalks, the all-female spacewalk will be broadcast on the NASA TV website. NASA will cover it live on March 29 starting at 6:30 a.m. ET, so you better wake up early if you want to watch. The spacewalk is expected to last for around seven hours. According to the Guardian, the entire spacewalk consists of installing new batteries which were placed on the ISS last summer. For McClain and Koch, who became astronauts in 2013, this will be the first spacewalk for both of them.
McClain is currently residing on the ISS with the Expedition 58 crew which came to the space station in December. Koch, however, will be a flight engineer for Expedition 59 and 60, with the first being scheduled for launch on March 14. Alongside Koch there will be Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin.