It’s 2019, y’all. And, to this point in history, there has never been a spacewalk consisting of all women. An all-female spacewalk was scrapped this March due to “suit size” issues. But, now there seem to be suits for everyone and there is a plan in place to send two women on a walk into space.
Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir were declared to be the team for the first all-female space walk in a statement from NASA announcing 10 upcoming space walks from the International Space Station (ISS). That’s 10 space walks in three months, which is “a cadence that has not been experienced since assembly of the space station was completed in 2011,” according to a NASA tweet. The purpose of the walks is to replace solar array batteries with upgraded lithium batteries and refurbish the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
Koch and Meir are members of the same astronaut class and have been training together for six years. Koch was supposed to perform the first all-female space walk with astronaut Anne McClain this spring when the walk was scrapped because there were not two medium space suits on the station. Koch constructed a second medium suit from what was on the station, but McClain declined to go for lack of suit prep. That is some short-sighted sh*&, NASA.
Both Meir and Koch will be spending extended time on the ISS. Meir just arrived this week and will be living on the station for six months. Koch arrived on the ISS on March 14th 2019, and will stay on the station until February, 2020. That will make her stay on the space station the longest of any woman (surpassing Peggy Whitson’s 288 days) and the second longest of any astronaut (just shy of Scott Kelly’s 340 days).
Meir and Koch are scheduled to perform their history-making space walk on October 21st. Watch nasa.gov for updates. Pull up a chair for women making history and taking names.