NASA’s First All-Female Spacewalk Set For Friday

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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.

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.

First all-female spacewalk rescheduled for 21 October 2019
 A composite image made of file images shows NASA astronauts Christina Koch (L) in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, 13 March 2019, and Jessica Meir (R). EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

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.


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