After some initial setback due to a lack of a medium-sized spacesuit, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has rescheduled the first all-female spacewalk for October 21. NASA has announced that astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain of the International Space Station will pair up for a spacewalk later this month. Earlier, the spacewalk was scheduled for International Women’s Month in March but was cancelled because properly fitted spacesuits were not available. Both the astronauts needed a medium-size torso component, but it was available only for one of them. McClain couldn’t perform her maneuver comfortably in the spacesuit which was available with NASA and was replaced by a male astronaut. So the spacewalk did take place but it was not all-female as Koch did the mission with fellow astronaut Nick Hague.
NASA in a tweet announced that there will be six spacewalks this month and the other five will be done in November and December this year. According to reports, Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will venture out on October 21 to upgrade the international space station with new lithium-ion batteries that will better save the ISS’s power supply. This will fourth of five spacewalks for battery-related work. Koch said that it will be a historical movement considering what we have been doing in the past.
Koch, who joined the space station in March, is going to set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. She will outdo Peggy Whitson, who became the American with the most overall space-time in the month of April. She will remain in orbit till February 2019. This will provide scientists time to observe the effects of long-duration spaceflight on a female. According to NASA, this will help support missions to Mars and the Moon. NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz earlier said completing the mission was the top priority for NASA rather than a cool milestone. Ever since Sally Ride came onto the scene in 1983, the number of female astronauts in space has seen steady growth. According to The Atlantic, so far nearly 60 American women have flown in space.