The National Aeronautics Space Agency (NASA) will be televising the first all-female spacewalk that will be happening tomorrow, October 18 and we’ll be reporting every step of the way.
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are the two female astronauts chosen, rather available, to conduct the first spacewalk to be performed by two women.
The two astronauts will be venturing outside the International Space Station at about 7:50 a.m. EDT Friday, October 18, as part of the repairs needed to be done on the ISS. Specifically, the spacewalk is meant to replace faulty equipment on the station’s exterior.
Koch will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) wearing the spacesuit with the red stripes, and Meir will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2) wearing the suit with no stripes. The spacewalk will be the 221st in support of station assembly, maintenance and upgrades and the eighth outside the station this year. This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first.
Meir will be the 15th woman to spacewalk, and the 14th U.S. woman. It will be the 43rd spacewalk to include a woman. Women have been performing spacewalks since 1984 when Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya spacewalked in July and NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan conducted a spacewalk in October.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and former astronaut and acting Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Ken Bowersox will host a media teleconference at 7:15 a.m. to discuss the historical significance of the event as the agency looks forward to putting the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.
Live coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Astronauts successfully accomplished the spacewalk operatoon
NASA astronauts Koch and Meir spent seven hours and 17 minutes outside the ISS during a spacewalk, carrying out their primary task of replacing a battery charge/discharge unit (BCDU) on one end of the station’s truss. Controllers confirmed during the spacewalk that a spare BCDU installed in place of the faulty unit was working properly.
NASA first announced October 15 that Koch and Meir will be the duo to perform the battery repairs, as part of the ongoing series of spacewalks needed for the operation, which started October 6. The BCDU unit, which is part of the space station’s power supply, failed to turn back on after the second spacewalk on October 11.
After replacing the faulty unit, the astronauts performed several other unrelated “get-ahead” tasks. That included installing hardware on the exterior of the station’s European Columbus module that will support an external experiment rank called Bartolomeo that be installed there next year.
In the middle of the spacewalk, Koch and Meir took a phone call from President Donald Trump at the White House, who congratulated them on the milestone. “What you do is incredible,” he said in comments that also played up NASA plans to return to the moon and, from there, go to Mars.
Trump, though, misstated the achievement, calling it “the first-ever female spacewalk.” Meir corrected him. “We don’t want to take too much credit, because there have been many other female spacewalkers before us,” she said. “This is just the first time that there have been two women outside at the same time.”
This post was updated October 18