Published: Fri, March 08, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

NASA Schedules Its First All-Female Spacewalk

NASA Schedules Its First All-Female Spacewalk

NASA astronauts Anne McClain, left, and Christina H. Koch will take part in a spacewalk March 29.

NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch are scheduled to suit up and head outside the International Space Station. That means it's a happy coincidence the spacewalk is now set to occur during International Women's Month.

Spacewalks are somewhat rare and are usually done for reasons that include exterior work on a spacecraft or satellite, or testing new equipment.

Less than 11% of the more than 500 people who have been to space are women, the Guardian reported.

While having the first women-only spacewalk was exciting, the more common sentiment around NASA was that it is more important that it not be the only one, Schierholz said. "It is the second in a series of three planned spacewalks".

After the news became public, McClain posted a view of Earth from space to her Twitter page with the caption, "the dawn of a new era in human spaceflight".

A spacewalk, also known as "extravehicular activity" (EVA), is a broad term that applies to any time an astronaut exits a vehicle while in space.

Now, with Canadian aerospace engineer Kristen Faccio operating as the crew's ground support from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, the historic mission will be an appropriate milestone for female trailblazers during the month of March: Women's History Month.

Valentina Tereshkova, from the Soviet Union, was the first woman in space in 1963.

Nasa astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will follow in the footsteps of Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, the first woman to walk in space nearly 35 years ago. Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, who was the second female astronaut, became the first woman to walk in space in 1984 while testing a fix method.

In the almost 60 years of spaceflight, there have only been four times when expeditions included two female members trained for spacewalks.

NASA will broadcast the 7-hour spacewalk at 6:30 a.m. ET on March 29.

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