U.S. astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will make history on Friday when they conduct the first ever all-female spacewalk to replace the power source on the International Space Station (ISS).
The pair will exit the ISS at 11:50 GMT to fix the station’s faulty battery charge/discharge unit (BCDU) over a period of more than five hours.
An all-woman spacewalk was cancelled in March due to one woman’s ill-fitting suit, leading to her replacement by a male colleague.
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) October 15, 2019
Koch and Meir are replacing the BCDUs after they failed to provide increased power to the ISS, though this has not significantly impacted the crew or its mission.
According to NASA, BCDUs regulate the charge for batteries that draw energy from the station’s solar collectors to provide power as the station orbits at night.
Koch, who is also set to complete the longest single spaceflight by a woman as she remains in orbit until February 2020, said gender milestones like the spacewalk were especially significant.