NASA Makes History With First-Ever All-Female Spacewalk
Published in Oct 2019 / Updated in Oct 2021
Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch have just made history after completing the first-ever, all-female spacewalk.
The women embarked on this journey on October 18, leaving the International Space Station to replace a failed power controller. NASA hosted a live stream on their site, celebrating the first #AllWomanSpacewalk in human history!"
Spacewalks happen all year round. But the teams of astronauts who are usually sent are dominantly male, until this recent spacewalk.
Only fifteen Women Have Ever been on a Spacewalk
These women have always been accompanied by men, and this is out of the 200 spacewalks that have ever been completed by astronauts and cosmonauts.
In March 2019, NASA nearly hosted an all-female spacewalk when an aborted rocket launch shifted the astronauts' schedule. Unfortunately, space was canceled after NASA discovered that it didn't have enough spacesuits for both women.
The announcement of an all-female spacewalk had been met with more interest from people than expected. And the backlash for the spacesuit fumble was swift.
After Seven Months, NASA Solved its Spacesuit Problem and Scheduled a Second Attempt
Before the grand journey, Meir tweeted:
"Gearing up for Friday's spacewalk to help the ground teams repair one of the battery channels with @Astro_Christina. . . . first spacesuit selfie, check! Photos will be much more spectacular once we pass through the hatch."
In an interview before the operation, Koch told NASA:
"In the past, women haven't always been at the table. It's wonderful to be contributing to the space program at a time when all contributions are being accepted when everyone has a role."
The first-ever astronaut to be sent into space was Soviet Air Forces, Yuri Gargarin, in 1961. He completed one orbit of the Earth in his capsule Vostok 1.
Yuri made history, but after seven years, while he and his flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin were piloting a plane, they crashed into bad weather, killing them both.
Following Yuri's footsteps, a team of seven American astronauts completed the Mercury project in which John Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth.
NASA Created the International Space Station (ISS)
The ISS is an outer-space station for astronauts from all over the globe, for conducting research on behalf of NASA.
Space scientists spend up to six months living on board. The space ship travels at a staggering 17,500 miles per hour through space.
Any time an astronaut gets out of the station, while in space, it's called 'spacewalk' or EVA (extravehicular activity).
The first-ever person to go on a spacewalk was Alexei Leonov, from Russia, March 18, 1965, and it was 10 minutes long.